Indigenous People of Interior
FNSBSD Alaska Native Education
Unit: Athabascan (Dene')
Winter Studies Daily and Contemporary Life
Lesson: Winter camp and urban
Students will learn about traditional Dene' winter camp
activities and what contemporary activities have replaced the
Review previous winter camp stories, "A View Of The Past"
and "Tetlin As I Knew It"
Checkout legends booklet "When
People Meet Animals," Book 5, "The Female Beaver" pg. 4-9 and
"A Bear Hunt" pg. 17-20 available from ANE Curriculum Resource
Materials from your librarian
Video - Profiles Of Alaskans - Emmit Peters - Musher @ Library
Media Services catalog
Schedule optional speaker on Dene' winter camp activities
Athabascan ABC Coloring Book (2-3 pages per day)
Athabascan Language Map or other
Students will learn the various traditional winter camp
activities of the Athabascan (Dene') family and compare to urban
family winter activities.
Preview and cue video to Emmit Peters section
of "Profiles of Alaskans," (video has Athabascan Fiddling Music on
Athabascan ABC Coloring Book
Re-review background materials
Make copies of classroom or co-op learning group sets of
For review, discuss and add to content on brainstorm
mind-map with class what was covered during the previous two days.
Add words or pictures that the students think that Athabascans do
in the winter today both in the village and in town. They may need
a person to re-tell the outline of the stories they heard day 1 & 2.
Words or pictures will include snowmachine riding, trapping,
gathering wood, attending Fiddler's Festival or Festival of Native
Arts, potlatches, play basketball, go to school, go visiting,
hunting, ice fishing, setting beaver traps etc...
Read one or both of the legends from "When People Meet
Animals," "The Female Beaver," good follow-up from day 2, or "A
Have student partners again listen for specific information or
idea. The main focus of discussion should be on the respect shown
to the animals whose lives are taken to feed and clothe humans who
hunt them. (Be prepared to answer questions about the animal
spirits and the concept of animals as people)
"The Female Beaver"
- What time of the year was the young man out hunting?
- What did the beaver people teach the young man?
- How long did the man stay with his beaver family?
- How did the beaver people help the young man return to his
- Why did the man return the bones to the water?
- What sacrifice did the man's beaver wife willingly make
for her human husband?
"A Bear Hunt"
- what tool is used to hunt the bear?
- When is the bear hunted, and why?
- Why were the two hunters horrified when they speared the
bear and he fell back into his den?
- What rule were the two hunters supposed to follow to
protect them from the bear's spirit?
- What happened when the son did not follow the rules of how
to treat a bear after they are killed?
Activity: (input/guided practice)
Discuss and define the word respect. Use appropriate
student references for understanding. What ways do we demonstrate
respect for people and things today and in the story.
-Treat animals as kindly as we do people because they
feed and clothe us, return bones to water
-Follow rules to insure we have not wasted an animal, such
as the rule directing hunters to cut off the paws and bursting
the eyes to ensure that the hunters got the bear and did not
just wound him and then not use his meat or hide for food and
-Rules to say who (men or women) may hunt what animals
-We are still taught "not to waste food"
-To treat clothes and toys with care and respect so they
-To share with others, similar to giving of oneself so
others can have some
Discuss or list some rules students have in their families and
in school that demonstrate or reinforce behaviors that are
intended to be respectful
Show video of modern dog musher Emmit Peters. Students will be
looking to see what a village is like and what winter activities
are shown in the video. These include mushing for racing and
trapping, school children, etc. Point out that the music is
Athabascan Fiddling music much like we can hear every winter in
Fairbanks at the Annual Fiddler's Festival and various potlucks
and meetings of Native and Non-Native people.
Contemporary winter activities include snowmachining for fun
and work, dog racing for youth and adults, attending potlucks,
corporation annual meetings, ice carving, basketball tournaments
and music festivals and celebrations both in Fairbanks and in
After listening to the Dene' winter stories/video,
students will discuss traditional Dene' winter camp activities
using the large poster board or add words and pictures to the mind
Activity: (independent practice)
Assign pages for coloring from the Athabascan ABC
Students will save colored pages in a folder so when they are
finished with the letters they will have their own alphabet book.
The original scene they drew on day I & 2 will become
the outside cover for their Alphabet book.
You may want to make a pocket for them to store their paper
dolls somehow in their coloring book.
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