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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Sharing Our Pathways

A newsletter of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative

Alaska Federation of Natives / University of Alaska / National Science Foundation

Volume 3, Issue 2, March/April 1998

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In This Issue:

Cultural Standards for Schools Adopted by Native Educators

Cultural Standards for Communities

Ilisagvik College Receives Grant

Denakkanaaga: Oral Traditions

Village Science

Just How Safe is Subsistence Food?

AISES Corner

Marshall Survival Skills Curriculum

Southeast Region

Aleut Region

Iñupiaq Region

Yup'ik Region

Athabascan Region

Education Specialist II Position

ANKN Publications and Resources

Alaska RSI Contacts

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Standards for Culturally-Responsive Schools Adopted by Native Educators

One hundred fifty Alaska Native educators convened in Anchorage February 1-3 and formally adopted a set of "Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools." They are intended to serve as a complement to the state content standards, focusing on how schools can help students acquire what they need "to know and be able to do," while ensuring they become responsible, capable and whole human beings in the process. To provide guidance in this endeavor, standards have been adopted for students, educators, curriculum, schools and communities.

The cultural standards are predicated on the belief that a firm grounding in the heritage language and culture indigenous to a particular place is a fundamental prerequisite for the development of culturally-healthy students and communities associated with that place. Attention to the local language, culture and place are essential ingredients for identifying the appropriate qualities and practices associated with culturally responsive educators, curricula and schools.

Though the emphasis is on rural schools serving Native communities, many of the standards are applicable to all students and communities because they focus curricular attention on in-depth study of the surrounding physical and cultural environment in which the school is situated. Such an emphasis acknowledges the unique contribution that indigenous people can make to such study as long-term inhabitants who have accumulated extensive specialized knowledge related to that environment.

By shifting the focus in the curriculum from teaching/learning about cultural heritage as another subject, to teaching/learning in the local culture as a foundation for all education, it is intended that all forms of knowledge, ways of knowing and world views be recognized as equally valid, adaptable and complementary to one another in mutually beneficial ways.

A draft version of the cultural standards for teachers, students, curriculum and schools has appeared in previous issues of Sharing Our Pathways. The following is the final set focusing on cultural standards for communities.

A complete set of the newly-adopted cultural standards, as well as curriculum resources and technical support to implement the kind of learning experiences encouraged in culturally responsive schools, may be found through the Alaska Native Knowledge Network web site located at, or call (907) 474-5897.

Cultural Standards for Communities

A. A culturally supportive community incorporates the practice of local cultural traditions in its everyday affairs.

A community that meets this cultural standard:

1. provides respected Elders with a place of honor in community functions;

2. models culturally appropriate behavior in the day-to-day life of the community;

3. utilizes traditional child-rearing and parenting practices that reinforce a sense of identity and belonging;

4. organizes and encourages participation of members from all ages in regular community-wide, family-oriented events;

5. incorporates and reinforces traditional cultural values and beliefs in all formal and informal community functions.

B. A culturally supportive community nurtures the use of the local heritage language.

A community that meets this cultural standard:

1. recognizes the role that language plays in conveying the deeper aspects of cultural knowledge and traditions;

2. sponsors local heritage language immersion opportunities for young children when they are at the critical age for language learning;

3. encourages the use of the local heritage language whenever possible in the everyday affairs of the community including meetings, cultural events, print materials and broadcast media;

4. assists in the preparation of curriculum resource material in the local heritage language for use in the school;

5. provides simultaneous translation services for public meetings where persons unfamiliar with the local heritage language are participants.

C. A culturally supportive community takes an active role in the education of all its members.

A community that meets this cultural standard:

1. encourages broad-based participation of parents in all

aspects of their children's education, both in and out of school;

2. insures active participation by community members in reviewing all local, regional and state initiatives that have bearing on the education of their children;

3. encourages and supports members of the local community who wish to pursue further education to assume teaching and administrative roles in the school;

4. engages in subsistence activities, sponsors cultural camps and hosts community events that provide an opportunity for children to actively participate in and learn appropriate cultural values and behavior;

5. provides opportunities for all community members to acquire and practice the appropriate knowledge and skills associated with local cultural traditions.

D. A culturally supportive community nurtures family responsibility, sense of belonging and cultural identity.

A community that meets this cultural standard:

1. fosters cross-generational sharing of parenting and child-rearing practices;

2. creates a supportive environment for youth to participate in local affairs and acquire the skills to be contributing members of the community;

3. adopts the adage, "It takes the whole village to raise a child."

E. A culturally supportive community assists teachers in learning and utilizing local cultural traditions and practices.

A community that meets this cultural standard:

1. sponsors a cultural orientation camp and community mentoring program for new teachers to learn about and adjust to the cultural expectations and practices of the community;

2. encourages teachers to make use of facilities and expertise in the community to demonstrate that education is a community-wide process involving everyone as teachers;

3. sponsors regular community/school potlucks to celebrate the work of students and teachers and to promote on-going interaction and communication between teachers and parents;

4. attempts to articulate the cultural knowledge, values and beliefs that it wishes teachers to incorporate into the school curriculum;

5. establishes a program to insure the availability of Elders' expertise in all aspects of the educational program in the school.

F. A culturally supportive community contributes to all aspects of curriculum design and implementation in the local school.

A community that meets this cultural standard:

1. takes an active part in the development of the mission, goals and content of the local educational program;

2. promotes the active involvement of students with Elders in the documentation and preservation of traditional knowledge through a variety of print and multimedia formats;

3. facilitates teacher involvement in community activities and encourages the use of the local environment as a curricular resource;

4. promotes parental involvement in all aspects of their child's educational experience.

Thank You Participants and Planners!

We would like to express our appreciation to all who helped put the 1998 Native Educators Conference together, whether you were a speaker, committee member, entertainment group, translator, panelist, or other. You helped make the conference an exciting and memorable event.

As our daily work resumes and we continue to work to improve education in our communities, Alaska's Indigenous people are leading the way, along with the International Indigenous people, in the area of Indigenous language and culture becoming a basis for our children's schooling experience. Throughout this intense work, our Elders are a constant source of knowledge, support and guidance. They have woven a super sense of humor in their experiences to carry us all through the difficult and not-so difficult times in our work in education.

Please thank each of your families for "sharing" you and your work with others. We look forward to another invigorating and exciting conference next year. Until then, God bless each of you as you continue your work.

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Ilisagvik College Receives Grant to Establish Tribal College Consortium

Ilisagvik College has been named recipient of a $510,000 Kellogg Grant for the establishment of a Tribal College Consortium in Alaska. The four-year project will serve to address the higher education needs of Alaska Natives through investigating the feasibility of developing a statewide network of tribal colleges. Although tribal colleges and college networks exist in other parts of the country, Alaska has not yet developed a tribal college network designed specifically to meet the higher education needs of Native students.

Four other tribal organizations are collaborating with Ilisagvik College on the formation of the consortium. These include Kawarak, Inc., Sealaska Heritage Foundation, Association of Village Council Presidents and Tanana Chiefs Conference.

The Alaska Tribal College Consortium is proposed as a means of lobbying for additional federal funding at a time when state funding for higher education is dwindling. Unlike other states, Alaska does not currently receive federal funding through the Tribally Controlled Community Colleges Act. The Kellogg grant award will facilitate development of the infrastructure needed to secure this and other sources of funding.

"We are honored to be in a position to be able to receive this grant," said Ilisagvik president, Dr. Edna Ahgeak MacLean. "We believe that through a tribal college consortium we will be able to better address the educational needs of Native people throughout the state. We foresee the development of a self-supporting college network working in coordination with other institutions to provide a full range of higher educational programs for Native communities statewide."

Under the proposal, the consortium will form an inter-institutional planning committee with representatives from the University of Alaska, Sheldon Jackson College and Alaska Pacific University. The group will work together to prepare a comprehensive long-range plan for Alaska Native higher education, identifying current needs and deficiencies and developing the goals which will prepare Native students for the 21st century.

The newly formed Alaska Tribal College Consortium met at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in October 1997 and recently held a retreat in Anchorage.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 to "help people help themselves through practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." Its programming activities center around the common visions of a world in which each person has sense of worth, accepts responsibility for self, family, community and social well-being and has the capacity to be productive and to help create nurturing families, responsive institutions and healthy communities.

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Denakkanaaga and NAGPRA: Oral Traditions In Education

by Caroline Brown

A banner that hung above the chalkboard of my high school biology classroom boldly proclaimed, "Never let school get in the way of your education." This was not an invitation to skip school in favor of more exciting adventures, but encouragement to find the joys of learning in everything that I did, in every place that I went. Education is never simply cracking open a book and memorizing its contents. In fact, some of the most important knowledge can't be found in books because it is the minds and hearts of the Elders. Information and knowledge are all around us; it comes in many forms and if we pay attention, we will find it everywhere. But, some would say, knowledge isn't really knowledge until you put it to use. Incorporating a curiosity about oral tradition into educational plans has more uses than you may suspect!

Funded by the National Park Service, Denakkanaaga recently began the Interior's first repatriation program under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Repatriation includes both the sensitive return of ancestral remains that were taken from villages and the return of sacred or cultural artifacts to villages. NAGPRA provides villages with an opportunity to learn about and possibly get back collections currently held in museums or by federal agencies. But the importance of this law goes beyond the material collections to how we understand history, culture and, more significantly, who can contribute to and define what is notable about that history to teach others about it.

The act itself is one of the first examples of Native oral traditions being considered as "evidence" in evaluating the nature of collections excavated or collected from villages and now held in museums. Thus, the collection of oral histories is important to the success of this remarkable law. Information about relatives, traditional practices, past events in villages, how certain objects were made or what they were used for and the identification of sacred material or objects that were otherwise culturally important to the village are among the kinds of information or knowledge that is useful in NAGPRA.

NAGPRA offers villages an opportunity to put this knowledge to use in some innovative ways-ways that can really benefit villages by physically returning elements of their history back to them. In this sense, collecting oral histories is not always an end to itself, although that is certainly important, but can be actively used to learn about and operate within laws like NAGPRA that rely on traditional knowledge. If you would like to learn more about NAGPRA or how you can get involved, please contact:

Cathi Ipalook,
Project Coordinator
Caroline Brown,
NAGPRA Specialist

Denakkanaaga, Inc.
409 4th Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: (907) 456-1748

Denakkanaaga was established in 1982 by the Elders residing in the Doyon region who wanted to have their voices heard. One of the primary concerns was expressed in the organization's first resolution, which stated in part, "The continuation of our Native culture, language, heritage and tradition is of the utmost importance to the Elders of the region."

We would like to remind everyone that the Annual Denakkanaaga Elder and Youth Conference will be hosted by the village of Allakaket. The conference is scheduled for June 1-5, 1998. The conference theme will be decided in March.

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Village Science

by Alan Dick

One of the most difficult parts to a scientific inquiry is finding the right questions. Quite often we are pursuing the right problem, but we are not asking the right questions.

For years I wondered why, in landing an airplane, passing through a cloud layer causes such turbulence. I thought extensively about clouds, condensation, density, vapor and other factors. I couldn't think of anything about the nature of a cloud layer that could shake an airplane. Finally I realized that clouds and turbulence are the result of a third unseen factor. Clouds form when layers of warmer air and colder air interact. The clouds do not cause the turbulence. The interaction of the two distinct layers of air does. That sounds too simple now that I look back. However, the inability to identify the problem and ask the right questions has hindered many a solution. For years I have watched old timers in the villages. They are seldom stuck. They step back from the problem and look at the whole situation.


The outboard motor needs a water pump. We might think we are stuck. If we get a bigger picture and think, "I need to pick berries. How can I get to the berry patch?" there are many solutions. The need to pick berries is the problem. Fixing the broken outboard is only one possible way of getting to the berry patch. Maybe someone else needs to pick berries. They have a boat and motor but no gas. Together we have a better answer. Maybe that is why the outboard was broken. We have a need to do something together.

Old timers know how to step back from a problem and see the real matter at hand. They are seldom stuck because they believe there is always a solution. It must be uncovered. The solution is often in the broad overall picture, not in the narrow view. If there is a need of a flashlight to find the flashlight, then the perspective is too close. Village science involves being able to find solutions when none are apparent. Parts stores, specialty tools, libraries and diagrams are often not available. That is when the genius of village people intervenes and clever solutions are uncovered. Knowing how to think, ponder, view from all angles and how to avoid hasty decisions are all tolls in the process of problem solving.

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Just How Safe is Subsistence Food?

by Patricia Longley Cochran

The Environmental Protection Agency has provided funding to the Alaska Native Science Commission (ANSC) and the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) to help find answers about environmental contaminants in subsistence foods. The traditional diets of Alaska Natives may expose them to increased bio-concentration of organic pollutants from the animals they eat, especially from marine mammals that may have already high levels of polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) and other organic pollutants.

Native scientists and communities will join with researchers in a statewide effort to identify the presence of abnormalities in Alaska's fish and wildlife and share knowledge about the safety of subsistence foods with Native tribes.

Patricia Cochran, ANSC's executive director and co-principal investigator of the project, wants villages involved in the research process so they can be active participants in directing the research. Concerns that are a priority to Native communities will be identified at a series of regional meetings to be held throughout Alaska during the next year and at a meeting of Native scientists to be held in March 1998.

Studies that document problems in plants or animals may relate issues from the researcher's viewpoint, but that discussion is often not carried through into other research disciplines to examine how these problems affect the health and safety of Native people. Often, the local and traditional knowledge of an area is not included in the discussion.

In an Anchorage Daily News article, Cochran said, "Native people are very concerned. We have gotten back responses telling us about the kinds of things they are seeing, from lesions seen in fish livers to differences in the teas people have been picking. There are a lot of things that show some kind of trend. The problem is nobody can say why or what it means."

A statewide database containing organic, heavy-metal and radioisotope contaminants data is being prepared from current studies and will be made available in a simple but useful computer database program.

For additional information, please contact:

Patricia Longley Cochran,
Executive Director
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907)786-7704
Fax: (907)786-7739

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AISES Corner

The Village Science Initiative enters the Kodiak/Aleutians/Pribilof Region in 1998. Plans are to establish AISES precollege chapter/clubs in village schools, operate two summer camps (in Kodiak and St. Paul Island) and to have a regional science fair for students in Kodiak, the Aleutian Chain and the Pribilofs. Teachers in Kodiak will meet in Port Lions with AKRSI staff to develop plans for the chapter/clubs and the summer camp. Monthly audioconferences with teachers and educators will commence March 18, 1998, to continue the development of the chapter/clubs and recruitment of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students for the camp.

The Annual AISES National Science Fair in Rapid City, South Dakota is scheduled for April 2-4, 1998. Debra Webber-Werle of Noatak, George Olanna of Shishmaref, Rita O'Brien of Nenana and Eddie Gavin of Buckland will chaperone. The following students have been invited to attend with their projects:

Sarah Monroe of Nenana. Project: A Comparison of Arctic Grayling and Burbot Anatomy and Fishing Practices

Allison Huntington & Brianna Evans of Galena. Project: Which (Fur) is Warmer?

Mary Burns of Noatak. Project: Alcohol and You

Sheila Washington, Sherry Ballot of Buckland. Project: Storing Berries the Traditional Ways

William Birsemeier, Tirrell Thomas of Kotzebue. Project: Furs that Keep Us Warm

Katy Miller, Brandon Romane, Puyuk Joule of Kotzebue. Project: Alder Willow Bark Dye

EJ Howarth of Noatak. Project: Caribou Antlers

Brandon Olanna, Norman Kokeok, Donnie Pootoogooluk of Shishmaref. Project: Uses of Low Wattage Electric Bulb by Using an Inverter

The Alaska State Science Fair will take place March 27-29, 1998 in Anchorage at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Casey Skinner of McGrath will present her project Spruce Bark Beetle Habitat. Casey's project received first place in both the Elders' Awards and the Teacher/Scientist Awards.

The Alaska Federation of Natives and the AKRSI are proud of the hard work and efforts of these young scientists. We look forward to continued progress in the development of their research.

AKRSI is seeking articles from Alaska rural students (K-12) for a student newsletter. If you have any essays, poems, short stories or reports on any scientific or cultural event in the village, please send them to Ursula Graham, UAF Interior-Aleutians Campus, PO Box 756720, Fairbanks, AK 99775 or fax to 907-474-5208.

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Marshall Survival Skills Curriculum

by Mike Stockburger

After many years of frustration teaching rural high school students traditional classes in discrete subject areas and watching the majority of students struggle through, not understanding how the parts fit together, I was given the opportunity to design and offer a curriculum based on hunting and fishing activities prevalent along the Lower Yukon River. The students involved were identified as high risk to drop out or as having serious problems dealing with the traditional curriculum. This curriculum was offered to eighth to tenth graders as a self-contained, year long program, fulfilling all necessary credits.

The main source of employment in this area is commercial fishing, with this and other occupations heavily supplemented by subsistence hunting and fishing activities. Keeping this in mind I tried to design a curriculum that was as hands-on and relevant as possible. Also at the heart of this design was a survey that asked parents and Elders questions about the type of education they would like their children to receive. Although many indicated they would like to see their children attend college; an equal number said they should learn skills that would help them survive wherever they chose to live. There was definitely a sense of disappointment among Elders that the school did not offer more courses that would prepare students for life in the village. We hope this curriculum will help fulfill these needs.

The teaching of values is always one of the most important parts of a student's education. The goal we identified as most important to these particular students was to get them to feel good about themselves in a positive way. We felt the best way to do this was through a curriculum they would buy into and by emphasizing a number of important values. These were:

  • always respect yourself and others,
  • be a team player,
  • work hard and do your best,
  • be a productive member of your community and
  • respect the environment.

Values, unlike some skills, cannot be taught in a lesson or two. What is required are countless reminders in the form of discussions, demonstrations, role models, expectations and acceptance on the part of the learner. Usually a particular value is best promoted by being reflected in the general attitude of those involved. The above five values were agreed upon by the students, school staff and community members of Marshall, a Yup'ik village on the Yukon River. Expectations during this class were that students, the teacher and any visitors would do their best to display these values at all times. The following is a description of the curriculum as presented to these students and their parents.


This course of study is designed to offer students the skills needed for life in Marshall. This is a hands-on based curriculum in which we learn and practice the skills necessary for commercial and subsistence hunting and fishing in this area. Included are the communication skills necessary to interact with people and businesses in other parts of the world. Emphasis is placed on an atmosphere of cooperation and respect; everyone is expected to work together to produce a variety of products. We also concentrate on developing a good attitude about life and how to become a productive and responsible citizen of our community, our country and of the environment around us. Students taking this course meet with myself and other members of the community every day to learn skills in the following areas:

  • Commercial and Subsistence Fishing Methods
  • History of Commercial and Subsistence Fishing
  • Current Events of the Fishing


  • Record Keeping and Taxes of Commercial Fishing
  • Fish and Meat Preservation
  • Boat Handling and Navigation
  • Boat Design and Construction
  • Welding
  • Outboard and Snowmachine Repair and Maintenance
  • History of Alaska
  • Language Arts and Reading
  • Math and Problem Solving
  • Fish and Animal Biology
  • Weather

The fisheries portion of this course is based on the Lower Yukon School District fisheries and fisheries science curricula. The language arts, math, science and social studies portions have been designed to meet the district's objectives for each of these areas. The other vocational areas such as welding or wilderness survival, follow district or state-approved curricula as appropriate.

Fisheries Activities

1. Fishing

Students learn about the various methods of fishing used around Alaska. They hang, mend and use gill nets and fish traps. Preparation for work aboard a fishing vessel is emphasized. Topics of interest to the fishers of Alaska are explored including fish allocation, fish farming and hatcheries.

2. Biology

Students investigate the biology of the five species of salmon and the freshwater fish found in this area. This includes the life cycles, anatomy, behavior and classification of these fish.

3. Equipment

Students learn about various types of boats used in this area including hull design, construction methods and materials. They participate in the lofting, laying out and actual construction of an aluminum skiff. Propulsion methods are covered including outboard repair and maintenance. Electronics and electrical systems used in small boats are also studied.

4. Business

Students learn the bookkeeping and tax records necessary for commercial fishing. Regulations covering commercial and subsistence activities are studied along with experience in filling out applications for the various loans and permits encountered in the fishing industry.

5. Fish Preservation and Preparation

Students preserve the fish they have caught using a variety of methods including salting, drying, kippering, freezing, canning and pickling. They also prepare fish according to local recipes.

6. Fish Processing and Quality

Students learn and practice proper techniques for handling and refrigeration of fish to ensure high quality. Commercial methods of processing fish are covered including the observation of an operational processing plant.

7. Navigation and Weather

Basic navigation is covered including Maritime rules and Coast Guard regulations. Students learn to collect and analyze weather data.

Language Arts Activities

1. Writing Project

Students create and publish a collection of articles, pictures, drawings, short stories, poems, etc. illustrating the skills and knowledge acquired during this course (along the lines of Foxfire or Camai.)

2. Journal

Students keep individual journals of daily activities and prepare a monthly report for the Marshall Advisory School Board.

3. Community Involvement

Students start a biweekly community '"fisheries awareness" meeting. They meet with community members to discuss the state of the fishery in this area and to participate in promoting the Lower Yukon fish projects. Topics include:

  • Canadian Treaty Negotiations
  • False Pass Intercept Fisheries
  • Aquaculture
  • Value Added Product


  • Fish Marketing
  • Developing Fisheries for Other Species CDQ and IFQ Programs

We also produce a newsletter to report on topic discussions and new developments.

4. Computer Skills

Keyboarding word processing and desktop publishing skills are used to publish the various papers, articles, reports and newsletters required for this course. Students are also required to produce at least one multimedia project per semester to share their activities with the community.

5. Additional Reading

In addition to the reading required for the above activities, students read and discuss at least two recreational reading books per month.

Social Studies Activities

1. History of Alaska

Students learn about the history of the state with an emphasis on the Alaska Native Lands Settlement Act, the formation of and responsibilities of the Native Corporations and the effects of these events on today's students. A class project involves the design and implementation of interactive web pages explaining this information for use at the elementary school level.

2. History of Commercial and Subsistence Fishing

Students learn how fishing has evolved and how current policies and laws have come about. The controversy concerning subsistence hunting and fishing rights is explored in detail.

3. Geography of Alaska

Students learn map reading and mapping skills. Maps of the village and river channels are produced. Students are expected to become familiar with all major geographic features of the state. Pen pal connections via regular and email are established with students in other towns in Alaska.

4. Current Events Topics

Students become knowledgeable through readings, television programs and other media sources of current events especially those that relate to fishing. They are able to use the Internet as a resource for information for class projects. Students are expected to report to the class on one topic per quarter in a formal presentation before the class to help fulfill their public speaking credit.

5. Community Action

Students are expected to design and carry out one project that provides the community with a service that is not being performed at this time. Examples are a village-wide recycling program, remodeling of the local teen center or addressing the problem of trash disposal in our village.

Math Activities

1. Review of basic operations

Students review addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and the rules and terminology of each. The Atari CCC program is used to reinforce skills in each of these areas.

2. Decals, Fractions and Percents

Students use manipulatives and real life examples to learn computation in the four basic operations for each of these areas. They are expected to show fluency in conversions between these forms of expression.

3. Banking and Budgeting

Students are paid for their time using simulated money. Their paychecks are based on the hours they work with increases for improved skills and attitudes according to the class pay schedule (see example this page). They are charged for room and board and fined for not following classroom rules. There are rewards such as movies, campouts, etc. that can be purchased with their savings. Students are responsible for applying for checking accounts, depositing money and balancing their checkbooks. Taxes are also computed for income and a school sales tax is levied on all purchases.

4. Consumer Skills

Students learn to comparison shop and are expected to fill out orders for fishing equipment, sporting goods and groceries. They learn to read technical papers such as owners' and service manuals, assembly instructions and recipes. Students also learn to interpret charts and graphs.

5. Problem Solving

Students learn to use the five-step problem solving plan and are expected to use this approach throughout the year.

6. Trip Planning

Students are responsible for the planning of all trips including fuel and oil needed, menus, equipment costs and any other logistical problems.

Fisheries Pay Schedule (Example)

Deckhand Pay Step 1: $4.25 per hour


This is an entry level position. If you were selected for this position, congratulations, you are now a deckhand!

Able Bodied Seaman Pay Step 2: $6.00 per hour


1. Demonstrate the ability to tie ten basic knots and explain when to use each.

2. Know the names (common and scientific), the life cycles and identifying characteristics of each of the five Pacific salmon found in Alaska.

3. Demonstrate how to write a check and enter this information in a check register.

4. Read two articles on fishing related topics and describe these to the class.

5. Demonstrate how to cut and prepare fish for freezing (heading, gutting, filleting and glazing).

Third Mate Pay Step 3: $7.50 per hour


1. Demonstrate how to hang and mend a salmon gill net. Show calculations for hanging ratio, distance and number of floats needed.

2. Demonstrate how to cut fish for smoking or drying and be able to describe how to preserve fish using each method.

3. Demonstrate how to read a topographical map and use a compass to follow a predetermined course.

4. Demonstrate how to calculate mileage and fuel needed for a boat trip from Marshall to Mt. Village round trip.

5. Write a letter requesting information from a company selling a product used in fishing or boating.

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Southeast Region
Integrating Native Values

by Andy Hope

Development of any curriculum that attempts to integrate Native knowledge must address the source of that knowledge: the language. That is one of the main reasons that I have been spending so much energy lately organizing a Tlingit language consortium. This consortium is comprised of a number of organizations and individuals including Sealaska Heritage Foundation, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, the Sitka Native Education Program, AKRSI, the Yukon Native Language Center, Dick and Nora Dauenhauer, Vesta Dominicks, Al Duncan and Beth Leonard. Participation in the group is growing with each meeting.

The consortium has met twice this year and is planning another meeting for early April. I am recommending that the group set two simple goals:

1. to facilitate community participation in the development of Tlingit language programs and

2. Tlingit ownership of all Tlingit language programs. The main reason community ownership of language programs is so important is that it is unrealistic to place the entire burden on Elders-the fluent speakers. Community ownership will help ensure success.

To work toward the goals, I offer the following approaches.

Development of Early Childhood Programs

These programs could include immersion programs. Elders could work with early childhood educators. The goal for this program would be fluency for each child that enrolls.

Development of K-12 Programs With the Attendant Pedagogical Protocols

To begin the process of addressing this need, work has begun on a certificate and degree program for Tlingit. This program will be literacy based and would be roughly modeled on the Iñupiaq and Athabascan programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Native language program at the Yukon Native Language Center in Whitehorse, Yukon. To retain Native ownership, we will attempt to arrange this program with Fort Belknap College in Montana pending development of a Tribal College in Tlingit country. Another need in this area is literacy training for non-Tlingit non-speakers, that is, teachers. This training would enable these teachers to integrate traditional Tlingit knowledge into their classrooms.

Development of Adult and Continuing Education Programs

This is the big challenge: How to ensure the support and participation of the "lost" generation of non-speakers? These people have not had access to traditional Tlingit knowledge. How do we provide access?

Development of Master/Apprentice Programs

These would enable non-speakers to work one-on-one with speakers to attain fluency. This program would be modeled on the Native California Network mentor program.

I organized panels on the issues outlined in this article for the Assembly of Alaska Native Educators and the Bilingual Multicultural Education Equity Conference. The Native Educator session recommended that I organize monthly statewide teleconferences to discuss development of Native language education programs. I will try to organize the first of these in early March. Those interested in participating can contact me at (907) 465-6362, email:

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Aleut Region
Integrating Native Values Through Dance

by Leona Kitchens

The Atka Aleut Dancers gave a stunning performance at the Unalaska City School on February 9, 1998. The troupe consisted of 16 dancers in ages ranging from kindergarten to adult with the majority K-12. They sang and danced for a full hour almost non-stop. Their movements were intricate and graceful and the music was unlike anything I have heard, not to mention their dance dress! Undoubtedly the finest performance I have ever seen! I highly recommend them-their music and dance brought me to my feet! I cannot think of a better way in which one can integrate traditional values than through dancing.

At the request of the dancers, the front row of the school auditorium was reserved for the Elders. This place of honor and respect given to the Elders is a value that is practiced by the Unangan people as well as most native cultures. This seemingly simple act, reserving the front row for the Elders, is a powerful way to teach our youngsters about showing our respect and honoring our Elders. The youngest member on stage is a kindergartner. Throughout the dances she could be seen looking up toward the older dancers and mimicking their movements. Often the older dancers would beam smiles and knowing looks toward her. Teaching through example and experiential learning are Native values that have long been a successful mode of passing traditional knowledge to our youngsters.

It is through the dance that students can continue to learn the language of their heritage. The Unangan language was proudly spoken throughout the performance. The introduction of the dancers by their Unangan names was exhilarating for everyone. Our language is one of the most valued vehicles in which Native values can be sustained.

One dance performed by the girls reflected the beautiful call of the seagull. In another dance the boys wore masks. Many of the dances are stories that come from daily events in people's lives, but often are expressions of our ancestor's belief in the world of spirit. The dances and rituals often express the interconnectedness of the natural and supernatural worlds.

The regalia the dance group wore was of the finest quality and workmanship. The students are learning not only the time-honored labor that goes into each garment, but the meaning behind each piece. Detailed consideration must be given to the patterns, the colors and the materials used. Two of the male dancers wore bentwood hats, while the females wore intricately beaded headdresses. As one style hat may be worn for hunting another is worn for ceremonial occasions; careful deliberation must be given to the appropriateness of dress for the occasion. Facial ornamentation and dress often reflect status, wealth and beauty and this had to be taken into account as the dancers on stage had the appearance of facial tattoos.

I know that I have only touched the surface of the Native values that constitute the dance. I challenge you to join the dance group in your area and if there is not one, to begin one. Be assured that you will find endless and fulfilling ways to integrate Native values!

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Iñupiaq Region
Integrating Native Values

by Elmer Jackson

Elders, native educators, Iñupiaq language teachers and certified teachers at the Northwest Arctic Borough School District (NWABSD) began the process of curriculum development. At their December 10-12, 1997 subsistence curriculum development workshop, they gathered information on whitefish, caribou, fall camping, spring camping and medicinal plants.

Lesson units will be created for teachers in the Iñupiaq region. It was suggested that it might be helpful to follow the months and seasons beginning with January (Siginniatchiaq.) Activities of the Iñupiat include many chores, including creating their subsistence tools for trapping, fishing and gathering food and wood. Young people are taught the building of sleds, boats and snowshoes and they learn about weather conditions and the different types of snow. It is important for the young to learn and know where the fish are and knowing what supplies to take when one is out hunting is essential. They learn about predicting weather by observing the weather. For example, a circle around the moon signals stormy weather. They learn about winter survival and how to dress for the cold. When a person is out camping during the winter, he looks for an area where there is soft snow; a place that has hard snow means that particular area is windy.

The following information was shared as an activity that the Kobuk River people practiced in their quest for survival. During the 20s through the 50s, the men would qaqi; they traveled by foot with their pack dogs up the Squirrel River towards Noatak and further north in search of caribou and other game animals.

The men hunted for caribou (tuttu), Dall sheep (ipniaq), ground squirrels (siksrik, aqlaq) and grizzly and black bear (iyagriq). The skins of the animals were dried and brought back to the community. The hunters saved every part of the animal. Everything in nature was respected. The muscle tendon, or ivalu, was dried and woven into thread strings for sewing the furs. The meat of the caribou, bear, dall sheep and fish were cut into strips and dried. After the drying process they were stored in cool dry places, caches or cold storage. The hunters stayed at their hunting places until Autumn began to color the Earth with bright colors. When the geese and ducks began their journey south, the men knew it was time to prepare for their journey home. The hunters gathered their bounty and, along with the pack dogs, carried the load. The rest of the food supply was stored and when winter came and the ice was safe to travel on they went back with a dog team to get the rest of their supplies.

The hunters walked for many miles to the where the Squirrel River meets the Kobuk River as it channels to the west. The men and dogs rested at the river. A camp was set up for the purpose of cutting logs for a raft (umiagluq). The logs were tied with rawhide from the animal skins. In Susie Barrs' account of Living In The Old Days, the men would float down the river at the time of the full moon.

While the men were hunting, the women and children stayed home gathering plants, berries, wild potato (masru), (masru is a sweet root preserved in seal oil), fish, maktak and puugmiutaq (dried seal meat). They labored all summer and through fall gathering food. From animal fats to dried meats and fish, many delicacies were created and stored. Ittukpala is a dish where fish eggs are mashed and whipped; cranberries are added and whipped until it doubles in size. This delicious Iñupiaq mousse is a healthy mixture of protein and vitamin C. Another dish is ripe rose hips, whipped, and then seal oil is added and whipped until it is mixed thoroughly.

Everyday the family continued to gather food. Before the ice and snow arrived, they all returned to their winter dwellings of sod and wood. When the ice on the river was safe to walk on, the people set nets and hooks for fish filled with suvaks-eggs.

In the earlier days, before contact with other cultures, the Iñupiat utilized seal oil lamps for cooking, warmth and light. Later they used wood stoves and the need for wood gathering or coal became a daily chore.

There were times of celebration in the community. A young man's first successful hunt was given away. A feast and celebration was planned. Many Iñupiaq foods were prepared and taken to the community center or church for a feast. The Iñupiat people share their food with others. Some families do not have a food provider or a hunter; so food, skins and wood for fuel is always provided.

Qivgi is a gathering of the people-one community would invite another. They feasted, danced and told stories or legends to the children. Many children nestled close to the storyteller, listening intently. The flicker of the seal oil lamp light seemed to bring to life the story itself.

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Yup'ik Region

by Barbara "Mak" Liu

This past fall, in October, various regional school district members at our regional consortium meeting in Bethel were introduced to student work from Paul T. Albert Memorial School in Tununak called the Yup'ik Encyclopedia. Chris Meier, teacher there at the time, provided a compilation of student work archiving Tununak Elders knowledge, skills, stories and lore on the computer. Another former teacher, Hugh Dyment, now at Bethel High School wrote an extensive article about this schoolwide project in the '97 issue of Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network.

In other AKRSI related events, Sean Topkok and Scott Christian visited Kasigluk February 9-12. While there they helped the Akula students create web pages. In the fall, curriculum unit building began with area teachers and a few curriculum specialists at a workshop session with Stephanie Hoag, Scott Christian and Theresa John in Bethel. A followup session was held in Anchorage, February 13 and 14 with Peggy Cowan and other statewide unit-building teams. Sophie Kassayuli from Yupiit School District is working on a plant unit with the help of resources from her community using local plants that grow in the summer months. Natalia Luehman is from the Yup'ik community of St. Mary's and her unit-building topic is on weather. Much credit is given to the teachers and school personnel that are passing on culturally-appropriate lessons to the multitude of students in various grade levels and classes. As more gets done, parents and Elders' gratitude will multiply.

Yup'ik/Cup'ik Elders are valuable resources in building oral language skills and content. I recently had the privilege of presenting Y/Cup'ik stories in a 90-minute session at the Bilingual Multicultural Education Equity Conference with Hooper Bay/Chevak Elder, Louise Tall. The session was well attended by many Yup'ik and Cup'ik speaking teachers. It is enlightening to know of the support we have in our region for stories that can be incorporated in lessons. Louise is in her mid-eighties born at a time when there was no calendars with numbers. She grew up in Qissuunaq (Chevak) area and moved to Naparyaaq (Hooper Bay) when she first married. She told three stories at the conference. Tuqutarayuli tells about sibling rivalry and how a poor unwanted girl is saved by a crab person (yungnguruulluku). Ciuliaqatuum Pania Neqnguarluku is about a man asking for a tiny fish from First Man's daughter at the headwaters of the Kuskokwim or Yukon, then a shortened version of Tekciugglugaat, and how this Sparrow family moves from place to place. As a small prelude, I read the story Quarruuk which is about two old women who were fooled by a needlefish. For a time-filler (giving Louise a short break between her stories) Zach Parks, student at Nunapitchuk High School, entertained, via video tape, with a short story called Kaviaq, Lagiq-llu which tells how Fox was truly embarrassed by Goose.

Plans are underway for statewide MOA partners to meet the first week of April in St. Mary's, Alaska. The dates for the meeting are April 5-7, 1998. One other activity that is being tentatively planned with Calista's Elder Council coordinator, Mark John, is an Elders and Youth Conference tentatively scheduled in September of 1998 in Kasigluk. Agenda for the spring consortium will be sent to all AKRSI/ARC MOA partners. The Fall conference agenda will be available to regional AKRSI/ARC MOA partners also.

Tuai- ngunricugnarquq!

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Athabascan Region

by Amy Van Hatten

Welcome Skies of Blue, Sun and You! As we enter Year Three, there are countless new facets to the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative and the Annenberg Rural Challenge for the Interior. Whenever I consider the many activities of the partners, I appreciate how expansive curriculum development has to be for enhancing student performance as members within their school, community and world. It reinforces the need for bringing people together to continue to work on developing successful teaching practices in rural education.

Our unit-building team has been working on integrating "Native Ways of Knowing" in a curriculum unit on snowshoes for grades 5-12. We are now looking for teachers to field test it, so please let me know if you are interested.

There is so much happening! Sometimes, to rejuvenate my excitement, I read over prior issues of "Sharing Our Pathways" to get a better grasp on the whole picture. It helps me to recognize where rural Alaskan's needs are with respect to education, the environment and the economy. There are many interested groups who might stand to gain directly or indirectly by supporting community-based curriculum. Additionally, as I assess my role as coordinator from time to time, I realize I have another responsibility and that is to see the difference between "what is" and "what can or should be."

Watch for further developments on the 1998 Athabascan Regional initiatives Native Ways of Knowing and ANCSA and the Subsistence Economy. I look forward to networking with everyone of you. Just let me know where I can be of assistance.

Happy Trails!

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Education Specialist II Position Announcement

The Alaska Department of Education is recruiting an Education Specialist II, position ID number 05-1637, effective immediately. This is a fulltime, permanent, range 21 position. Starting bi-weekly salary $2,204.50 located in the TRS retirement system.

Taken from the Workplace Alaska, Division of Personnel website,, the position description follows:

The incumbent is responsible for providing statewide leadership, program planning and implementation, evaluation of programs related to bilingual education and limited English proficient programs in Alaska. The incumbent works closely with staff in school districts involved with state-funded bilingual education programs. Additionally, the incumbent administers the department's federal Title VII Bilingual Education grant. This position will be connected to the federal Title I Disadvantaged and Migrant Education programs, specifically in the area serving limited English proficient (LEP) students. General duties for this position within the Bilingual and Title I/Migrant I LEP areas include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Review and approve school district bilingual education plans;
  • Provide technical assistance related to bilingual and LEP program implementation and instructional strategies;
  • Research and identify programs with evidence of effectiveness in serving these populations;
  • Provide or arrange for direct training and/or staff development for bilingual and LEP instructors and administrators;
  • Provide technical assistance on standards based instructional models and
  • Appropriate assessment systems and instruments.

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ANKN Publications and Resources

Go to the ANKN Publications and Resources to Order website

Search the ANKN Database

View Online Resources

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Alaska RSI Contacts

The Alaska RSI Regional Coordinators are located in five regions within the state of Alaska. They are listed below to help you identify the correct contact.

Amy Van Hatten
Athabascan Regional Coordinator
5230 Fairchild Avenue
Fairbanks, Alaska 99709-4525
(907) 474-0275 phone

Elmer Jackson
Iñupiaq Regional Coordinator
PO Box 134
Kiana, Alaska 99749

Andy Hope
Southeast Regional Coordinator
University of Alaska Southeast
School of Business/PR
11120 Glacier Highway
Juneau, Alaska 99801
(907) 465-6362

Barbara Liu
Yup'ik Regional Coordinator
Box 2262
Bethel, Alaska 99559
(907) 543-3457

Leona Kitchens
Aleutians Regional Coordinator
P.O. Box 921063
Dutch Harbor, Alaska 99692
(907) 581-5472


Ray Barnhardt
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6730
(907) 474-1902 phone
(907) 474-5208 fax

Oscar Kawagley
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6730
(907) 474-1902 phone
(907) 474-5208 fax

Dorothy M. Larson
Alaska Federation of Natives
1577 C Street, Suite 201
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 274-3611 phone
(907) 276-7989 fax

Sharing Our Pathways is a publication of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Educational Systemic Reform in agreement with the Alaska Federation of Natives and the University of Alaska.

We welcome your comments and suggestions and encourage you to submit them to:

The Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Harper Building
P.O. Box 756730
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6730

(907) 474-1902 phone
(907) 474-5208 fax

Newsletter Editor: Lolly Carpluk

Layout & Design: Paula Elmes

Up to the contents



Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Last modified August 16, 2006