Preparing Indigenous Teachers & Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS)
Sealaska Heritage, in partnership with the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), operates Preparing Indigenous Teachers & Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS), a program founded by the university in 2000 to grow the number of Alaska Native teachers and administrators and improve educational opportunities for Alaska Native K-12 students. We need more Alaska Native teachers and administrators in Alaska schools--preschool through high school. Students who are accepted to the program receive a scholarship that generally covers tuition, fees, books, and room and board at UAS for the entire program period (contingent upon continued grant funding). Students must be enrolled in an education degree program at UAS, have a minimum 2.5 GPA upon entry and maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA in order to continue receiving this scholarship. To be eligible, students must have college junior status and be admitted to one of the following degree programs at UAS: BA Elementary Education, BA Special Education or BA or BS in an academic area leading toward a teacher certification.
In 2018, SHI received funding for the program and developed the following priorities under the partnership:
- Support Alaska Native students and educators for initial or advanced certification or degrees in education or Indigenous language and culture
- Support professional development activities for educators, including PITAAs scholars and university faculty, on issues affecting Alaska Native students
- Revitalize Alaska Native languages and cultures
- Offer career preparation activities that enable Alaska Native pre-service teachers in the PITAAS program an opportunity to gain valuable work experience as well as guided education experiences with Alaska Native educators in SHI's annual Latseen Leadership Academy
Through the program, the partners are now offering tuition waivers to Alaska Native freshmen and sophomore students who are interested in PITAAS for certain language and culture classes. (See Eligible Classes) (Hear from PITAAS Graduates) (More on PITAAS)
Math and Culture Academy
The institute works with public school teachers through its Math and Culture Academy, which teaches math skills to middle-school students through Northwest Coast art.
Through the annual academy, students attend culture-based math camps where Native art practices, such as basketry, weaving and canoe making, are used to teach math. The teachers also increase their knowledge of Native cultural traditions, protocols and art as they affect mathematical learning.
Teams of teachers, artists, and SHI staff are producing, field testing, and disseminating a series of supplemental math resources that incorporate Tlingit culture and language geared for beginning algebra and geometry courses.
SHI is building the model for use in Southeast Alaska by adapting nationally recognized, successful math programs developed by other organizations outside the region.
Latseen Hoop Camp and Latseen Running Camp
Sealaska Heritage Institute sponsors an annual Latseen Hoop Camp and a Latseen Running Camp. Sealaska Heritage developed the model for these programs, which teach athletic skills and the Tlingit four core cultural values.
Next: Juneau Hoop Camp, August 5-9, 2019, Juneau. Contact: email@example.com
Juneau Running Camp, dates TBD, Juneau. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Native Youth Olympics
The Native Youth Olympics is a statewide sport that includes 10 different events or games to test skills of strength, agility, balance, endurance and focus. These games are based on hunting and survival skills of the indigenous people of Alaska and across the arctic going back hundreds of years. Each year, teams of high school and middle school athletes from across the state travel to Anchorage to take part in the Sr. Native Youth Olympics. More than 500 athletes from over 100 communities, split into male and female division, compete for 1st-5th place medals in the 10 events. Athletes strive to perform at their personal best while helping and supporting their fellow competitors, no matter what team. This is the spirit of the games, to work together toward common goals and learn from the skills and values that allowed Alaska Native people to survive and thrive in some of the harshest conditions.
In order to take part in the Sr. Native Youth Olympics, athletes must be currently enrolled and in good standing in a middle school, high school or GED program and between the ages of 12-19. They do NOT need to be Alaska Native.
Next: 2019 Traditional Games (Team Juneau Tryouts) March 16-17, 2019
Thunder Mountain High School:
- Mondays & Fridays after school, 3:45-5:30 pm, Yellow Wing Commons
Juneau-Douglas High School:
- Tuesdays after school, 3:45-5:30 pm, Auxiliary Gym
- Fridays at lunch, 12:10-12:45 pm, Auxiliary Gym
Juneau’s NYO practices are sponsored by SHI, Central Council of Tlingit & Haida, Juneau School District and JSD Indian Studies Program.
2018 Traditional Games
(Results) The 2018 Traditional Games, held in late March in Juneau, were a big success, with more than 50 athletes registered and well over 100 spectators in attendance. Medals were awarded to Middle School Division and High School/Open Adult (18+ Division with the following results:
Central Council Tlingit and Haida hosted a fry bread taco fundraiser and sold t-shirts to help raise funds to send a Juneau team to the Native Youth Olympics in almost thirty years. More on the Juneau team coming soon.
Check out this video clip showing Erick Whisenant winning the gold in the Two Foot High Kick, kicking a high of 7' 2"!
Baby Raven Reads
(Baby Raven Web) Sealaska Heritage sponsors Baby Raven Reads, an award-winning program that promotes early-literacy, language development and school readiness for Alaska Native families with children up to age 5. The pilot program in Juneau ended in 2017, and SHI received funding to offer the program for another three years and to expand it to nine other communities in Southeast Alaska...(more)
Sealaska Heritage is sponsoring a program for young writers to encourage and produce culturally-based books for all age levels. Through the program, Yées kashxeedí (New/young/fresh writer), SHI is encouraging writers who are age 19 or younger to submit manuscripts that tell stories about Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures and/or history through the Native worldview. If SHI accepts a manuscript, the author will be paid an honoraria for co-copyright and permission to publish the story as a book. The program—which translates as Ta k’áalang ‘la’áay Gáwtlaa (New writer) in Xaad Kíl and Sü t'amiist (He/she is a new writer) in Sm’algyax, will be an ongoing effort to encourage the development of creative Native writers and the production of culturally-based learning materials such as those now being produced by SHI under its Baby Raven Reads program. Writers should submit draft manuscripts to email@example.com.
Sealaska and Judson Brown Scholarships
(Application) (Required Documents) (Schedule) Sealaska Heritage Institute provides scholarships to Alaska Natives who are Sealaska Shareholders and Descendants for college, university, and vocational and technical schools. The annual awards are funded mostly by Sealaska. The application period is from January 1-March 1 each year. Applications must be filled out and submitted online. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to the soaring cost of getting a college education, AffordableColleges.com has compiled a useful guide to financial aid for minority students to help students.
Alaska Native Arts and Museum Scholarships
(Application) Sealaska Heritage will offer three new scholarships in 2018 for art and museum studies students enrolled at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Through the program, SHI will offer scholarships to Alaska Natives attending either UAS or IAIA who are studying the following: Northwest Coast arts at UAS; studio arts or pursuing a bachelor of fine arts at IAIA; or museum studies at IAIA.
Thru the Cultural Lens: Teacher Orientations for Juneau School District, 2018
It is critical that Native cultures be incorporated into public schools and that teachers have a general understanding of the cultures. Studies have shown that Native students do better academically when they are exposed to their culture in class. To that end, Sealaska Heritage sponsors cultural orientations for teachers in public schools and at the University of Alaska through a memorandum of agreement. Participants learn Native history, Native world view, and even about Northwest Coast art.
SHI currently is seeking funds to continue this program and expand it to other Southeast Alaska communities:
Sealaska Heritage is conducting three short surveys to better serve the interests and needs of the Alaska Native community. Everything you share with us will remain anonymous.
- If you are a stakeholder (a Sealaska shareholder, Alaska Native, a community member, a teacher or someone with an interest in SHI’s programs), fill out this survey.
- If you are an Alaska Native high school student and/or a former participant of SHI’s Latseen Leadership Academy, fill out this survey.
- If you are a past or current recipient of a Sealaska scholarship and/or a past Sealaska intern, fill out this survey.
Thanks in advance for participating!