Home
Field Notes
 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
INNOKO: KeepingAlaska Native CulturalTraditions Alive in McGrath, Alaska
Alaska Region, January 4, 2010
Print Friendly Version
Students, wearing Native regalia, learn traditional dances from a volunteer instructor. (Photo by C. Harrington)
Students, wearing Native regalia, learn traditional dances from a volunteer instructor. (Photo by C. Harrington) - Photo Credit: n/a
A young girl learns how to sew beaver mittens. (C. Harrington)
A young girl learns how to sew beaver mittens. (C. Harrington) - Photo Credit: n/a
A finished pair of beaver mittens sewn by one of the students. (Photo by C. Harrington)
A finished pair of beaver mittens sewn by one of the students. (Photo by C. Harrington) - Photo Credit: n/a

INNOKO: Keeping Alaska Native & Cultural Traditions Alive in McGrath, Alaska 

 

The Innoko National Wildlife Refuge staff began 2010 by co-sponsoring a community event teaching Alaska Native and cultural traditions to students at the McGrath School.  The event was sponsored by the McGrath Native Education Committee, Innoko National Wildlife Refuge and the Iditarod Area School District.  Over 70 students, from kindergarten through 12th grade as well as teachers and parents, learned native and cultural techniques from experts in the local community.

 

Students participated in a wide range of activities, thanks to the volunteer experts. Students from McGrath and the neighboring village of Takotna learned about local furbearers, pelt quality, trapping techniques, and traplines from Innoko NWR staff members, Kevin Whitworth and Steve Kovach. This led to the students setting up their very own line of rabbit snares in the forest behind the school. They checked the line the next day and while they were not successful in trapping a rabbit, they did succeed in learning a new skill.

 

Innoko NWR sponsored another educational about the historic use of dogs in hauling both people and freight. Dara Whitworth and Kristi Bulock, both Innoko NWR staff, took students outside to share skijouring techniques, mushing information, dog training techniques, as well as their three Siberian Huskies. The huskies stole the show.

 

Clara Demientieff, Innoko Refuge Information Technician and member of the McGrath Native Education Committee, helped organize “Native Traditions Week” and taught students how to sew beaver mittens.  47 students produced a fine pair of beaver mittens. These mittens will last for many years and the lessons learned will last a lifetime.

 

Other traditional activities included; making fried bread and agutuk (fish ice cream), native dancing with dance fans made by the students, native mask construction, and good ole square dancing. The week ended with an afternoon community gathering for food and dance. It was good to see all of the students perform traditional dances in their native regalia. The event was a good opportunity for Innoko NWR to maintain important cooperatives in the community while also bringing local students outdoors. What a wonderful way to start the New Year!

Report prepared by Refuge Information Technician Clara Demientieff
This project was funded in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the 2010 Challenge Cost Share Program
.


Contact Info: Dara Whitworth, (907) 524-3251, dara_whitworth@fws.gov



Send to:
From:

Notes:
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State




Search by Region


US Fish and Wildlife Service footer