Learning From The People


The ECHO Collection provides rich, multi-disciplinary educational resources in science, literacy and language arts, fine art, and social studies. The combined skills, experience, and collections of our six institutions provide life-enhancing educational opportunities in and out of the classroom, strengthening knowledge of local culture and identity.

  • Storytelling: Tales of Everyday Life

    Students explore how events from everyday life can become stories, and how different types of narratives—such as ships' logs and journals—can tell the story of the same event. This is one of four storytelling lessons.

    Grades: 4-6,13+
  • Art That Tells a Story

    This interactive activity, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, presents images of nine artifacts from the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Many of these objects were included in "Uncommon Legacies," an exhibit of 18th and 19th century Native American art, which the museum presented in 2003. Each image relates to narratives in multiple ways.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Oral Traditions

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, features Cecilia Kunz, a Native elder from the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska, who describes how stories are passed on among her people. Although the Tlingit language is now written, and virtually all Tlingits are literate, they continue to pass on their stories orally. Cecilia Kunz illuminates how dance, clothing, traditional objects like totem poles, and events like potlatches all become means of transmitting and preserving stories.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Storytelling: Oral Traditions

    Students talk about what makes a good story, look at the oral tradition of storytelling, and compare and contrast stories from two different cultural traditions. This is one of four storytelling lessons.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Storytelling: Performance and Art

    Students explore how stories can be told without words, such as through performance and art. This is one of four storytelling lessons.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Maui and the Creation of the Islands

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, presents the telling of the story, "Maui and the Creation of the Islands" by Tom Cummings of Hawai‘i's Bishop Museum. It features storyteller Kealoha Kelekolio, and is illustrated with images and graphics of the Hawaiian Islands.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Storytelling: Writers' Workshop

    Students draw on their understanding of different types of narratives to inspire and enrich their own storytelling. This is one of four storytelling lessons.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Bowhead Whaling and Its Impact

    This interactive activity, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, presents images and text from the history of whaling in the North Atlantic Ocean and in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic. It looks at both Native Iñupiaq and commercial whaling, and introduces a landmark study conducted by John Bockstoce and Daniel Botkin. The study looked at changes in whale populations during the height of commercial whaling from 1849–1914.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Arctic Climate Perspectives

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, shows the changes now happening in Barrow, Alaska, due to global warming. The Iñupiaq people who live in Barrow present their observations of these changes based on their centuries-old knowledge of their environment, and describe how these changes are already affecting their lives. Scientists who have come to Barrow to study climate change also offer their perspective.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Choctaw Dances

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, illustrates some of the traditional activities that connect the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to their past. Activities include traditional dances, the use of traditional instruments such as the Choctaw drum and dance sticks, and participation in games like stickball.

    Grades: 4-6
  • The Wreck of the Corinthian

    This interactive activity, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, presents three accounts of the story of the wreck and attempted salvage of the whaling ship Corinthian. The documents include a ship’s log from another whaler, the George Howland, which towed the Corinthian to a safe harbor; a newspaper account of the events; and a painting based on the story.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Iñupiaq Whale Hunt

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, shows a whale hunt with Native Iñupiaq hunters. The Iñupiaq people have been hunting whales for thousands of years, and many of their hunting methods and traditions continue to be passed down from generation to generation. On this expedition, the crew successfully kills a bowhead whale. The entire community joins together to bring in the whale, butcher and distribute it, and then celebrate the hunt.

    Grades: 6-9
  • The Raven Story

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, presents a telling of the Tlingit myth, "How Raven Gave Light to the World." The story is told by Shirley Kendall (Eagle Moiety), originally from the Alaskan village of Hoonah. It is illustrated with video of Native dancers and Alaskan scenery, as well as with images depicting Raven.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Performing "The Walrus Hunt"

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, shows how students in Anchorage, Alaska, develop a song and dance to tell about a walrus hunt. Their goal in creating this dance is to connect with their Yup'ik and Iñupiaq cultures, help preserve the cultures for future generations, and express their joy in being part of those cultures. To share their dance with others, the students produce a music video of their work, excerpts of which appear in this video.

    Grades: 4-6
  • The Voyage of Kealoha

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, is a dramatization based on the account of an actual voyage by Charles Edward Kealoha, a Native Hawaiian who traveled to Alaska in 1876-77 to participate in the Arctic whale hunt. He and another Native Hawaiian seaman were stranded there and lived among the Iñupiat in a northern Alaskan village for six months. The narrative closes with Kealoha's rescue and safe return to Hawai‘i.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Ways of Navigation

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, illustrates some of the methods that people from communities across the globe have used to navigate on the open ocean. European and American sailors relied on navigational instruments. Polynesian travelers used traditional techniques based on celestial navigation and on their observations of clouds, winds, birds, and other phenomena. And the Iñupiaq people of northern Alaska rely on their centuries-old knowledge of their environment to find their way while hunting and fishing.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Exploring Environmental Change

    Students explore the connections that can exist in a natural environment, and examine how changes to the environment, particularly those caused by human activity, can affect those connections.

    Grades: 6-9,13+
  • Living on the Coast

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, offers a glimpse of life in three coastal communities in the United States. It begins in Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula, specifically in the village of Nanwalek, where people have learned to survive in a harsh environment. Next we travel to New Bedford, Massachusetts, to see how people have always depended on the ocean for whaling and fishing. Finally, we go to Moloka'i in Hawai'i, where people have learned to respect the ocean for what it provides its island communities.

    Grades: 6-13+

Contributor:
Funder: