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

NATIVE GAMES IN SCHOOL

 

Native games in the school curriculum can be used as a vehicle for engaging students in meaningful activities that will provide both motivation and real world application for what they learn. Native games also fulfill the Native cultural values of sharing, promoting cooperative team work, hard work, respecting others, and encouraging positive self-esteem. The following is a list of ideas that could be used at the elementary level to expand the use of Native games in the school curriculum.

1. Divide the students into small groups. After an oral discussion identifying the different Native groups in Alaska, each group will be allowed to select a native group. In the library, students could explore different games played by that particular culture.

2. Another way to obtain information is by contacting Native parents or elders and asking for their ideas. Since Anchorage has a Pioneers' Home and Mary Conrad Center, a field trip to either location to visit some of the elders from aboriginal cultures could occur. This way the students could experience first hand story telling and games played by Natives. Other communities in Alaska have similar facilities, or provide access to the wisdom of the Native elders, in much the same way as Anchorage.

 3. The student groups will be allowed to select games from an aboriginal Native culture and demonstrate them to the class. They may wish to draw pictures to help illustrate the games, tell stories about the games, or put the games to music.

4. During P.E. time, each group could teach the rest of the class how to play these games so that everyone would participate. They could record and graph individual progress

5. Each group could decide how their games will be produced on video tape. The camera person could be another student, community member, or parent.

6. The students might also have an assembly and invite WEIO, AWG, or NYO competitor(s). This person(s) could demonstrate and discuss the games, their importance, the amount of training and self discipline required to compete.

7. Students could participate in Junior NYO. The events could be as follows:

1st and 2nd graders Stick Pull, Kneel Jump, and Seal Hop

3rd and 4th graders Wrist Carry, Two Foot High Kick, and Alaskan High Kick

5th and 6th Graders Scissor Broad Jump, Arm Pull, and One Foot High Kick

8. Students could participate in a Native games tournament to measure their skills against the rest of the class or school.

9. Using the computer lab, the groups could develop a hypercard program on games played by Natives. Using a scanner, they might import pictures to help illustrate the games.

10. Students could form different small groups and explore games which originated in other countries. Which country would be determined by that particular group as long as there were no duplications. The same sequence of events, selection of games, demonstration to the class, and teaching other students how to play these games could occur.

11. Students could form a third small group and explore games from other Native American tribes. Which tribe would be determined by that particular group as long as there were no duplications. The same sequence of events, selection of games, demonstration to the class, and teaching other students how to play these games could occur.

12. Students could obtain out-of-school learning experience by volunteering at the Anchorage Pioneers' Home and Mary Conrad Center, in order to spend additional time with elders.

13. Students could attend and/or participate in WEIO, AWG, OR NYO.

14. Students could develop an entrepreneur business centered around Native games by providing demonstrations daily for tourists, locals, and other interested parties.

15. Students could keep a journal with reflections on Native games or any aspect of this theme.

16. Students could be involved in debriefing sessions which allow them to express their feelings and thoughts on Native games. Their invaluable voice should be heard.

17. The students could plan a camping trip to a village or a location of the students' choice for a week. This activity could change their lives.

It is my belief that many of the participants in today's games feel a sense of responsibility to learn the Native culture and language through these traditional activities. The games provide a good way for the participants to regain the respect for elders' knowledge, which is quickly being diminished, in our changing world. The participants communicate with the elders about the traditional purpose of the games and how they came about, as well as learning about the meaning of life. The games provide everyone with the opportunity to learn and gain knowledge of the past.

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Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
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Last modified August 14, 2006