My name is Raquel Schroeder. I’m Bristol Bay Yup’ik and St. Lawrence Island Yupik with family ties in Bristol Bay and the Bering Strait. I’m a member of the Curyung Tribe and a Shareholder of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation.
I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and graduated from high school in 2010. I went to Wenatchee Valley College in Washington State and Iḷisaġvik Tribal College in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, where I earned a certificate in Early Childhood Indigenous Education. In this program, I learned the importance of culturally-responsive practices and the need for preservation of Indigenous cultures and languages.
I developed an interest in creating projects with art, design and technology that focus on Alaska Native cultures, languages and land. This is important to me because, as a mother and educator, I found there aren’t many easily-accessible resources that reflect the beauty of Alaska’s land and Indigenous peoples. With a lack of resources that reflect students’ environments, it can be difficult for them to find identity in learning, which may lead to social and academic issues in the long run. My goal is to celebrate and represent every student in the educational resources I create.
Over the past two years, I have developed several educational resources highlighting the different cultures in Alaska.
Here are a few of them, available for free download on my website.
From birth to age seven, I spent my days playing outside in the woods, picking berries in the tundra, and working hard in the summers with my mom, grandma, and great-grandma. I went to fish camp, picked wild greens, and learned traditional recipes that were passed down through generations.
As a mother and educator now, I strive to capture this special connection between Indigenous students and the land in the educational resources I create. If you look closely, the flora and fauna of each highlighted region are incorporated in all educational materials.
To find inspiration for projects, I often consult with elders and relatives in different regions. I also look back through photos and think about the values and aspects of my culture I wish to share with students in Alaska.
Here’s a photo of my family and I celebrating a birthday on the beach in Clarks Point, Alaska, circa 1992.
I used this memory to create a story called Angniq Anutiiq, Happy Birthday! a story about a young boy’s birthday. The story follows festive activities throughout the day. Even after a day full of adventures and receiving toys and gifts, he says his favorite part of the day was spending time with loved ones. This story demonstrates elements of Alaska Native Cultural Values and contains sixteen Central Yup’ik Keywords for learning opportunities. Available for free download on the website.
In addition to creating educational resources, I also collaborate with schools, districts, and educational organizations to foster a culturally-responsive environment. Oftentimes, this means I’m a keynote speaker sharing my story with educators across the state and country. I’m also known to facilitate professional development sessions on culturally-responsive strategies for family and community engagement and I often organize student and family events. These experiences have taught me that there is power in connecting with others on more than just an academic-level — ask questions to help bridge the “Cultural Gap” between culturally-responsive pedagogy and student cultures.
Raquel Schroeder provides freelance and contracted educational, digital and creative services for individuals, businesses, and educational organizations. She is experienced with designing events, creating curricula, speaking in front of crowds + so much more! Learn more at raquelschroeder.com