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

Curriculum Resources for the Alaskan Environment

Subject Areas: social science, history

Timeline: at least one quarter

Grade Levels: 6-12

Purpose: to provide students with an Idea of how previous generations lived; to provide communication between students and eiders; to give students practice at working as a group


J. Bacon
Building Traditional



Square bullet Activities

  • It is vital that the class or group locate a person (or persons) in the community who remembers how to construct a traditional dwelling. If you are unsuccessful in this, it is perhaps best to find another project rather than proceed unassisted. 
  • Ideally your "experts" would instruct the students, rather than letting them watch. Actual work could be two or three days per week, with the remaining days used for planning and organization. A flexible schedule will allow students to work outside when the weather is best, and remain inside when it is worst. 
  • When completed, the class could actually spend some time living in the dwelling and could give tours to other students, explaining to them what they have learned.

Square bullet Resources

  • community elders


  • If you are unable to find any community members interested in actually building a traditional dwelling, you may be able to get someone to spend time telling your class what life in such a dwelling entailed, and build a study unit around that. This could be done at any time of year. Also, it is important to let student discover the advantages traditional dwellings had over frame construction (ease of construction, conservation of energy, availability of materials). 
  • In an Eskimo (Yupik) community, students might consider building a Kasigi, or traditional men's house. When completed, a Kasigi could have many uses: storytelling, dancing, kayak building, to name a few.


Carving and Jewelry Co-Op

Fund-Raising: Concessions/Raffle/Auction/T-Shirt Sales

Rummage Sales

Mail Order Business

School-Based Enterprises

Café Operation

Open House

Community Use of School Library

Village Recreation

Guest Speakers


Local Livelihood

On-the-Job/Cooperative Education

College Preparation

Teacher's Aide Training

Managing Community Affairs

Land Claims Brainstorming

The Corporation Game or Alaska Monopoly

Reconveyances: ANCSA Studies

Resource Development Options

City Council Meeting Simulation

Mock Board of Directors Meeting

REAA School Board Trip

Your Village

Family Tree

Village Archaeology

Building Traditional Dwellings

Cultural Heritage Projects

Traditional Hunters Manual

Ethnic Dinners

Following the Iditarod Dog Race

Visit to the Tribes

Trip to Mexico

Cross-Country Skiing

Firearms Handling

First-Aid Training

Christmas Shopping      



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