SHI TO MAIL SECOND SET OF 1,300 LEARNING KITS TO 6 COMMUNITIES IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA
Materials part of its STEAM program
March 11, 2021
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is mailing the second set of 1,300 learning kits to middle school students in six communities in Southeast Alaska enrolled in its Opening the Box: STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education program.
The boxes, called “Maker Kits,” will be delivered to middle schools in Angoon, Sitka, Hoonah, Wrangell, Klawock and Juneau. They are aimed at helping children learn the fundamentals of science, technology, engineering, arts and math in a hands-on, engaging way that incorporates Northwest Coast art, cultures, stories and languages.
The goal of the program, which serves more than one thousand children, is to build confidence in students’ skills, positively impact their academic motivation and teach about Native cultures.
Prior to COVID-19, SHI planned to sponsor community STEAM events, but to ensure everyone’s safety, staff instead created Maker Kits. In total, there will be four Maker Kits sent to schools before the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
Each kit explores a different core cultural value of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people.
This second kit explores the value of Haa Latseení: Strength of Body, Mind and Spirit (Haida: Íitl’ Dagwiigáay; Tsimshian: Na Gatlleedm). This value is examined through outdoor exploration, reflection, game-making challenges and at-home experiments.
Students unfamiliar with Haa Latseení are introduced to this value through different tellings of the story of the Strong Man.
The Strong Man story is first presented through a telling of Dukt’ootl’ in Lingít (the Tlingit language) by Tlingit Elder Frank Johnson, which was recorded, transcribed and translated by Nora Marks Dauenhauer.
A second telling of the Strong Man story, Am’ala, is told via video by Tsimshian artist David Robert Boxley.
Once the students are told both renditions of the story, they are invited to create their own story based on a strong person in their lives.
Students will also learn about and analyze Indigenous games, including the One-Foot High Kick and Tlingit and Haida stick games. After learning about the design of these traditional games and considering the design of other games they are familiar with, students are challenged to design their own game that supports health and wellness.
Each kit in the series follows the same basic structure and includes materials that can be reused in future activities.
SHI’s Opening the Box: STEAM program is funded through a grant from the Alaska Native Education Program.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.
CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116, firstname.lastname@example.org.