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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: biology, ecology, survival

Timeline: fall or early winter; summer

Grade Levels: 8-12

Purpose: to increase knowledge of local mammals; to encourage self-sufficiency


J. Bacon
Operating a Trapline
Subsistence Trapline,
or Subsistence Net


Square bullet Activities

  • Set a trapline:

    enlist the help of a local expert; if no money is available, provide all or part of the catch as payment

    either order traps through the mail or borrow them

    be sure not to set traps on another person's trapline

    keep records of where traps are set and what is caught

    have students prepare sets, check traps, and skin the animals.

  • Set a net:

    borrow a net in exchange for a share in the catch

    purchase a subsistence permit (it's cheap)

    obtain a boat; if the school will provide gas and oil, one of your students will probably be able to provide a boat

    consult with elders to find a good location; don't fish at someone else's site; don't block more than one-half a navigable stream

    check net twice a week; keep a record of numbers and species caught clean the fish; examine stomach contents; determine what the fish eat eat the fish: distribute among the students; save some for a feast.

Square bullet Resources

  • Fin, Fur, and Feathers magazine: ads for suppliers of traps, scents, and books on trapping, as well as ads for fur buyers 
  • Trapping Tips, Washington, D.C. 
  • Cushua, C. T., & Bumham,K. P. An Inexpensive Line Trap for Snowshoe Hares 
  • (1974, October). Journal of Wildlife Management, 38(4), 939-941 
  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game 
  • Cooperative Extension Service 
  • Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Conservation Note#16


  • Trapline:

    if the project is used for fund-raising, consult the village council, and inform the buyer of the nature of the project; have students market the furs and keep financial records

    set rabbit snares; keep records of which snares produce; check stomach contents to see what the rabbits have been eating; give away the catch or have a rabbit feast in class. 

  • Net

    have village resource person teach net mending; repair your net; make a net

    discuss nutritional value of fish

    learn from elders how traditional tools and methods have changed

    incorporate into a marine biology unit.

Village Map and Directory

Land Selection

Local Weather Station

Star Mapping

6" Newtonian Reflecting Telescope Construction

Planetarium Construction

Investigation of Snow Melting

Insulation Experiments: Cardboard Boxes/Snow-Fenced Houses

Durable, Energy-Efficient Homes

Practical Application of Alternative Energy System

Solar Energy Uses

Construction of School/Community Facilities

Bush Shop or How to Learn Carpentry Without Wood

Basic Home Maintenance

Snowmachine Maintenance

Glider Construction (Aviation Shop)

Subsistence Tool Construction

Operating a Trapline, Subsistence Trapline, or Subsistence Net

Survival Skills

Heritage Campout

Netting Fish Efficiently

Natural History

Study of a Food Resource

Effects of Diet on Mice or Rats

Medicinal Plants

Farming the Sea

Summer Marine Science Program

Vegetable Gardening

Greenhouse Construction and Gardening

Chicken Farming

Water Usage Study

Garbage Disposal

Village Dogs

Fire Safety



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