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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: textile arts: weaving, spinning, natural dying, stitchery, macrame

Timeline: ongoing

Grade Levels: all grades, community



K. Schwartz
Weaver's Guild




Square bullet Activities

  • Set up a place. Depending on resources, you will need:

    18' x 16' space for two foot-powered looms

    small space for one or two spinning wheels

    two long work tables for table looms and simple looms

    a separate area for dying spun yarn

  • Collect local materials for extracting dyes: berries, nuts, etc. Collect local materials for spinning into fiber: hair, fur, etc.
  • Spin fibers on hand-spinning wheels or drop spindles (you may wish to mondant fibers first).
  • Mondant fibers by treating them with a chemical to allow them to accept color, and to make color more permanent (see Dye Plants and Dying under Resources).
  • Weave products by hand or use the looms. You can also use other textile arts such as stitchery, applique, macrame, or textile printing. When possible, incorporate local craft techniques, such a s skin sewing, basket making, etc.

Square bullet Resources

  • hair from animals; dogs, caribou, moose, and bear can be used for spinning
  • some weeds and grasses collected in the summer can be used in combination with hair for spinning
  • berries, leaves, nuts, moss, and most vegetables can be used to extract colors for dying
  • The State Library, for resources dealing with weaving techniques throughout Alaska 
  • Dye Plants and Dying, a book of instructions on natural dying 
  • The Textiles Arts, a handbook of weaving, braiding, printing, and other textile techniques 
  • The Complete Illustrated Book of Dyes for Natural Sources


  • Market the products; obtain a business license and sell work in shops, museums, and/or by mail order.


Artist in Residence Program

Community Mural Project

Elder Posters and Interviews

Literature from Life History and Village Lore

Bilingual Exercise

Illustrated History of Eskimo Games

Freeze-Up Essays

Literacy Bank

Elementary Reader

Grant and Proposal Writing

Student A/V Presentation

"Focus on Your Village," a short videotaped news program

Developmental Photography

Film and Video Scripting


Producing a Play

Ceramics-Chess Class

Block Print Sales

Weavers Guild



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