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

Athabascan RavenAthabascan Winter Studies
The Dene'
Indigenous People of Interior

Kindergarten Unit

FNSBSD Alaska Native Education

Unit: Athabascan (Dene')
Winter Family Activities Environment Strand

Lesson: A Winter Camp Setting

Day 6:

Students will create/interact with a visual depiction of a winter camp with tools, animals, plants and Dena people


Athabascan Language Map or other maps

Stories of Dene' winter camp settings from previous days

Set-up a pretend traditional tent, using line, sheets, construction paper in a corner of the room, have fun making surrounding habitat, if centers are used this can be one learning center

Video cassette or guest speaker on winter camp activities

Language flash card placed near matching objects

Winter camp diorama/pictures/models if a tent is not used

Athabascan ABC Coloring Book


Students will draw/construct a Dene' traditional winter camp and compare to an urban setting/food/family.

Students will experience through play a traditional Dene' winter camp.


Select a video on winter camp activities for students to review

Athabascan ABC Coloring Book

Review Athabascan resource materials for tent design and winter camp tools and lay-out

Set-up or coordinate use of traditional, experiential play tent with other grade level teachers if you plan to use a tent activity

Introduction: (set/purpose)

Ask your students to close their eyes and tell them we are traveling back in time 200 years to visit our Athabascan friends in their winter camp near the Yukon River. There will be several families in the area when we arrive and we will be invited into the home of the leader of the small band of families.

We already know what the camp looks like from our stories and the people have recently found several beavers in our traps for food and to make warm winter clothing.

Ask the students to tell you what the camp will look like. After they have described information they have learned from the stories have them tour the new tent, model or diorama.

Activity: (input)

Review Dene' winter camp story or show on VCR

Review of words/phrases/expressions related to winter camp activities

Students will compare life in a winter camp to life in town discussion may include town activities such as:

-sports, hockey, basketball, snow skiing, roller-skating, etc

-ice fishing, going to the malls, attending church or holiday bazaars or flea markets, school activities etc.,

Comparison discussion should include the fact that winter camp activities are similar to lie in town because they are for recreation, learning, daily life, and to reinforce family roles and directing future interests

 Activity: (guided practice)

After listening to the Dene' winter camp video/story, students will make a model/picture or play in the tent model of a traditional winter camp

Outline student behavior expectations for playing with a model of a traditional Dene' winter camp or playing in the tent

Learning center rotations will be similar to previous days with the inclusion of an actual tent for the student play. Tent may include objects to enhance the play such as:

-Habitat drawings in background

-Stuffed animals for play cleaning, skinning and cooking

-Pretend cooking area for preparing food

-Real dolls for family role playing and dress-up

-Outfits that resemble traditional and modern clothing for the dolls assign students to small groups for learning centers

Activity: (closure)

Students will demonstrate respect and understanding of the uses of objects, family roles through positive and cooperative play.

Activity: (independent practice)

Students will practice their Dene' words/phrases/expressions

Students will color assigned pages and transfer nouns/phrase onto corresponding coloring pages

Students will play selected Athabascan games

ANE Curriculum Overview
Unit Overview



Athabascan Art Sampler


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 17, 2006