When Mark John, Cultural Advisor of Calista Education and Culture (CEC) and Elder from Toksook Bay, talks about his work with CEC, he stresses the importance of engaging youth and documenting knowledge and place names for future generations. Mark John has been working with colleagues at CEC to document Yup’ik place names for decades. The Yup’ik Elders he works with believe that sharing knowledge freely across generations is an important part of Yup’ik culture. Yup’ik Elders are eager to teach young people the rich history and names of places of their homeland, including camp and settlement sites, rivers, sloughs, rocks, and ponds. Place names hold stories and knowledge important for language and cultural retention.
Students from Rural Alaska don’t often get the opportunity to participate in college tours. Weather, distance, and logistics are a challenge when your hometown is accessible only by small plane or boat. Thanks to the support of the Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership, 19 students from villages served by Lower Kuskokwim School District got the opportunity to go on a statewide tour of post-secondary programs at UAF, UAA, APU, and AVTEC. Continue reading College Tour Time!: LKSD GEAR UP Students Visit Alaskan Post-Secondary Programs by ASDN Staff
I made my first qaspeq when I was around 10 or 11 years old with my sister/cousin/aunt. And then I didn’t pick up sewing a qaspeq again until I was in college in my mid-20s. As a kid I would watch my auntie sew qaspeqs and would just be in awe of her beautiful creations. I longed to be able to sew. The sewing skills I learned at school thanks to my amazing Yup’ik teachers. I am forever thankful for their teachings and it has been a dream of mine to be able to teach and share the knowledge that I learned from grade school, my aunt, and my college qaspeq teachers.
Students in the Lower Kuskokwim School District village of Atmautluak, produced this film as part of the GEAR UP Program at the Joann A. Alexie Memorial School. GEAR UP in LKSD includes: drone pilot certification, filmmaking, culinary institutes, tutoring and college readiness activities. GEAR UP liaison, Jeffery Behelsich supported students as they scripted, planned, interviewed, flew drones, filmed, and edited this introduction to Atmautluak.
The Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership is a collaboration between Bering Strait School District, Lower Kuskokwim School District, the University of Alaska, Yuut Elitnaurviat and Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) designed to address the needs of students in 37 villages in western Alaska.
For the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD), staying local isn’t just a mandate during the pandemic — it’s a long term strategy for learning. Recognizing the need for language resources to boost proficiency in the Yup’ik language, as well as a desire for curriculum that students could relate to, the LKSD administration embarked on a multi-year project to create K-12 social studies and science curriculum that addresses both these needs.
With funds and direction from the Quyurramta (“All of Us Together”) grant from the U.S. Education Department’s Alaska Native Education Program, LKSD set out to translate existing texts (with generous permission from TCI publishers) into Yugtun, the Yup’ik language. Continue reading ‘LKSD Creates Curriculum to Revitalize Yup’ik Language and Culture’ by Noelle Dersé
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. Continue reading ‘My Passion: Creating Educational Resources that Celebrate Alaska Native Culture and Language’ by Raquel Schroeder
The Tuluksak School is located in the Yupiit School District in southwestern Alaska, a region where many families are from a Yup’ik cultural background and speak the Yup’ik language. The school district is comprised of three schools in the communities of Akiachak, Akiak, and Tuluksak.
Kicking the year off with a personal welcome, the Tuluksak School staff divided into small groups to do a “walk about.” Continue reading ‘Building Community Partnerships in Tuluksak’ by Lesa Meath, Matthew Brown and Principal Douglas Bushey