by AlexAnna Salmon, Project Director
Alaska Native Education Program(CFDA 84.356A)
Grant #S356A170005 funded by US Department of Education
“I believe that cultural learning is so important because it helps us understand who we are and where we come from. For example, learning the history of our area, listening to the
stories of our elders, and learning cultural skills, helps build a foundation of self-identity and self-esteem. With this knowledge, no matter where our children go in the world, they know there is always a home to return to that they understand and are a part of” – Michelle Ravenmoon, Summer Project Director
We hear it over and over – at Alaska Federation of Natives, at Alaska Association of School Boards, in our homes, and at our councils: “The next generation needs to be learning about our connection to the land; they need to know our cultural values and our history.” The time for “Communities Teaching Cultures” is now, and we are kick starting it with a three-year grant from Alaska Native Education which will serve thirteen Lake and Peninsula villages. In addition to the revision of cultural awareness standards, each Local School Advisory Committee with the help of community and elder input will set the cultural program; the tribal councils will hire a summer coordinator to implement it (May – August). These coordinators will receive guidance as needed from program staff. Most importantly our students, the future of our region, will have the priceless opportunity to learn directly from local experts, and to also achieve academic credit throughout the subsistence calendar despite 20 days less in the classroom. It is essential that we all work together to make this program successful – our children deserve the best!