Minto Mapping Project:

A Curriculum to Preserve
Generations of Knowledge

written by Bill Pfisterer, Linda Pfisterer and Paula Elmes

Philosophy Statement

In an ever changing world, it is important to record the past in an attempt to understand the present. What was once an oral tradition of passing along such information, is now being recorded with emerging technologies. These efforts will help young people recognize how and why cultures change over time and enable them to identify who they are and their place in the world.


The Minto Mapping Project began several years ago with the intent of recording indigenous place names of traditional and contemporary land sites used by the people of Interior Alaska’s Minto Flats. This collaborative effort was done by the Cultural Heritage and Education Institute, Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative/Alaska Native Knowledge Network, and the Minto High School Students.

The idea for the Minto Mapping Project originated at the Summer Cultural Camp in Old Minto. The Elders expressed a need for their young people to learn the locations and the importance of several historical places before they were physically unable to show and tell about the sites. They felt this information needed to be handed down to their children and grandchildren so they would understand some of the life-style and historical events from times past, and the role the countryside where they lived, played in their daily lives.

It is the intent of this curriculum to continue with the ongoing Minto Mapping Project by involving the High School Students of Minto as they use the latest technology to begin the process of creating a cultural atlas. As the High School Students of Minto become the culture bearers, it is important that they visit the historical sights, learn their place names and locations, and be a part of recording the events and stories the Elders want preserved.

  1. It is a goal of this project to work with the school and community to develop a plan to accomplish the mission of preserving the past.

  2. It is a goal of this project to travel to historical sites with the Elders and youth of Minto to gather data. Audio tapes and photographs will be used to record information. Students will write up the information and stories at a later date.

  3. It is a goal of this project that students transfer knowledge gained from Elders about historical locations to a computer generated web site. It is important that place names for the locations be put down in their indigenous language along with the English translation.

  4. It is a goal of this project that students embellish their information with photographs, sketches and paintings.



This Project Has Four Segments

Bringing the community and school together to make a plan.

Gathering Information.

Using technology for putting together the information.

Expansion of illustrating skills through the visual arts.


Cultural Standards

A1, A3, E3, E5, E8

A1—4, B3, B5, B12, C3, D1, D3

A1, B1, B2, C6, E2

A1, A2, A3, B2, E2, F3

A1, A2, A5, B1, B3, C;1, C4, C5, D2, E1, E2, E4, F2, F3, F4

Alaska State Content Standards

English/Language Arts
A1—2, A5—7, B1, B3, C2, C4—5, D13

A1, A3, B1, B3—7, C3, D1—2, D4, E5, F2

Government & Citizenship
C4, C6—7, E1—2, E4, E6

A5—6, A8, B1e, B3—4, C1—2, C4, D1, D5

Skills for a Healthy Life
A1—2, 4, B3—4, C5—6, D1, D6

A1—4, B1—4, B6—7, C4, D5—6, D8

World Languages
B1—4, B6, C1—2, C4

A1—4, B2, C3, D1—3, E1, E6—8


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