Spirit


  • Dustin Madden: Science Teacher

    Meet Dustin Madden, an Iñupiaq and assistant science teacher in the Anchorage, Alaska, school district, in this video profile produced WGBH. Madden explains the importance of developing a strong background in science and math in order to help preserve and protect the environment. He also discusses how his cultural upbringing has influenced him, and how he tries to reach out to students who have grown up in rural Alaska.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Steve MacLean: Conservationist

    This video produced by WGBH profiles Steve MacLean, an Iñupiaq scientist who works for The Nature Conservancy. In his role as a conservationist, MacLean works to preserve biodiversity in the Bering Sea, a unique marine environment being threatened by climate change. Brought up in the Alaska Native ways of knowing, he explains that Alaskan cultures are intimately connected with nature and suggests that people should not be separated from natural systems when considering solutions to environmental issues. MacLean strongly recommends a career in science for Alaska Native peoples interested in making a difference where they live.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Gwich'in Tribe Protects Caribou and Culture

    In this video adapted from Bullfrog Films, Evon Peter, chief of Arctic Village, explains the significance of the Porcupine caribou herd to the Gwich'in people. Over a 10,000-year relationship, the caribou have become part of the Gwich'in nation's social fabric. Peter discusses the importance of the caribou calving grounds, which the Gwich'in treat as a sacred place, and the threat that exists to caribou from proposed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

    Grades: 6-12
  • Students Making a Difference

    This interactive activity features three videos that promote better care for the environment, including the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. One video shows student projects that raise awareness about household hazardous waste and improve salmon habitat using recycled tires. The other two videos were produced by students in Alaska and focus on a campaign to promote responsible use of diapers, plastic bags, and other products; and an Athabascan legend that illuminates the importance of caring for natural resources. The videos are adapted from Agrium, Inc.; Alaska Youth for Environmental Action; and Homestead Elementary School, Eagle River, Alaska.

    Grades: 2-8
  • La'ona DeWilde: Environmental Biologist

    This video produced by WGBH profiles La'ona DeWilde, an Athabascan and doctoral student in environmental biology. DeWilde chose her career because of her strong traditional belief in respecting animals and caring for the environment. Her work today involves helping local villagers record observations that can be used collaboratively with Western science to help solve problems that affect Alaska Native peoples, including climate change and water contamination.

    Grades: 6-12
  • On the Yukon River

    Explore the role of salmon in Alaska Native cultures and the efforts to help maintain healthy salmon stocks in this video segment adapted from the Yukon River Panel. Learn about the Yukon and Teslin River programs that regulate the harvest of salmon to keep stocks at healthy levels. Listen as subsistence users share stories about their experiences with salmon and discuss the changes they have seen in salmon stocks. See how one research team collects data to study salmon and freshwater productivity. Hear about concerns for future generations and the importance of stewarding this important fish stock.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Spirit of Subsistence Living

    In this video adapted from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, visit the Cup'ik people of Chevak, Alaska, to learn about the interconnectedness of nature and their subsistence lifestyle. Listen to an elder speak about the importance of sharing experiences. Learn about the holistic view that everything in nature is connected by spirit, and observe as John Pingayak and the Alaska native people of Chevak teach visitors to the village how to harvest from the environment: how to collect driftwood, dig for clams, set nets for salmon, and use grass as insulation.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Alaska Native Ways of Knowing

    In this media-rich lesson, students prepare classroom science fair projects that demonstrate the application of traditional knowledge to a scientific topic.

    Grades: 3-13+
  • Take Action for Nature and Your Community

    In this media-rich self-paced lesson, students explore human relationships with the natural world, learn how both Alaska Native ways of knowing and Western science can be used to study and help the environment, and take action on a local environmental issue.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Richard Glenn: Iñupiaq Geologist

    In this interactive resource featuring audio, images, and text adapted from Raven Radio/KCAW, meet Richard Glenn, an Alaska Native geologist. Glenn explains that he is first an Iñupiaq Eskimo and whale hunter. He studied Western science as a way to inform himself and his people about how the oil companies perceived the resources of the North Slope. He then suggests that Alaska Native ways of knowing and Western science can be likened to two flashlights shining down the same path.

    Grades: 3-12
  • The Effects of Global Warming in Alaska

    In this media-rich lesson, students learn how global warming is changing the Alaskan environment and examine the consequences of climate change on the region's human and wildlife inhabitants.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Living from the Land and Sea

    Learn about the cycle of seasons that guides the traditional Alaska Native subsistence way of life, in this video adapted from the Alaska Native Heritage Center focuses. As the seasons change and the available resources change, so do Alaska Native peoples' hunting and gathering activities. Recognizing the interdependence of life in nature, Alaska Native groups have respect for the land, sea, and animals. They also demonstrate respect for the Elders living among them. The integration of technology, including snowmobiles and GPS, into their subsistence activities demonstrates a blending of tradition and modern ways.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Careers in Science

    In this media-rich lesson, students explore careers in science through profiles of Alaska Native scientists. They consider how traditional ways of knowing and Western approaches to science can complement each other and allow students to incorporate their own interests when considering careers in science.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • People of the Arctic

    In this video segment adapted from the National Film board of Canada, learn about Inuit culture. Interviews with indigenous peoples and archival footage document concerns about how their traditional ways of life have changed from living off the land to being more dependent on the larger world; the importance of a traditional education that teaches technical skill and character; the connection between the local environment and global climate changes; and how adaptability has its limits.

    Grades: 3-13+

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