Traditional Lifeways: Fishing

Fishing is an integral part of the lifestyle of inhabitants of the Upper Kuskokwim Region of Interior Alaska. The “Traditional Lifeways Curriculum: FISHING,” for students K-12 utilizes scientific and mathematical principles in unit-based activities. Problem-solving and decision-making skills are developed through using traditional knowledge as the foundation from which the younger generation can learn respect for the health of the community and environment.

The curriculum offers traditional stories of the Upper Kuskokwim people, describes the fishing methods used, their construction and how they worked. By inviting elders to visit the classroom with their equipment to share their knowledge of fishing in the past and now, the students are receiving real-life information. The elders can also speak about their concerns about the declining fish populations and what might be done to preserve them, such as the tradition of returning two-thirds of the fish eggs to the water to ensure future fish.

The curriculum contains accurate descriptions of varieties of fish, their life history, what they feed on, how they are caught and even supplies additional web sites for further research.

The many unit-based activities encourage students to learn by doing research, being attentive to the information shared by the elders, and even participation in a volunteer fish camp. They also, learn about traditional methods of conservation and the modern conservation method of fish regulations. This curriculum meets Alaska State Standards for Math and Science and for Culturally Responsive Schools.

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