Thru the Cultural Lens: Teacher Orientations for Juneau School District
(Register) (Flyer) 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.
Through the program, SHI organizes Our Cultural Landscape: Culturally Responsive Education Conference, held virtually for the first time Aug. 6-8, 2020 with more than 400 registrants. Find out more here: https://conference.sealaskaheritage.org/
Preparing Indigenous Teachers & Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS)
(Brochure) 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 and books. 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)
Amplifying Our Stories:Voices on the Land
SHI’s Voices on the Land Program is back in Southeast schools! The goal of Voices on the Land is to improve literacy skills and increase the use of Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian language through performing arts and digital storytelling. Through the program, SHI integrates performing arts and digital storytelling into local schools to help students create theatrical productions, scripts, digital stories, and illustrated storybooks based on traditional knowledge and share their productions with peers, family, and the community. Throughout this process students enhance their writing, reading, speaking, listening, and technology skills. The program also includes two summer day camps for students in 4-8th grades and a Basic Arts Institute training for teachers in partner districts. First launched in Juneau in 2014, the program was expanded in 2019 to serve schools in Juneau, Yakutat and Ketchikan.
- July 6-17, 2020: Virtual Performing Arts Intensive: Held virtually in 2020, the camp served 28 students in grades 4-8 in 5 Alaska communities (Juneau, Hydaburg, Hoonah, Metlakatla, Anchorage) and 4 other states (Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, and Arizona). Virtual instruction was provided by a team of four performing artists--Ishmael Hope, Lily Hope, Ed Littlefield and Vera Starbard--and included traditional stories, language activities, songs, and visits from Elders, as well as guided independent projects such as drumstick-and book-making. Sessions were provided live through Zoom, with other materials accessed through a camp website.
- Aug. 2-14, 2020: Virtual Digital Storytelling Intensive: Students will receive online instruction from professional artists Frank Kaash Katasse, Rosey Robards and Shelley Toon Lindberg. They will guide participants to create and tell stories through stop-motion animation and documentary-style short films. Instruction will include language, songs, and visits from Elders. Preference given to youth from the communities of Yakutat, Ketchikan, and Juneau.
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)
Tlingit Culture, Language and Literacy Program
The Tlingit Culture, Language and Literacy Program (TCLL) is place-based, culture based “school within a school” where the Tlingit language and culture are integral to daily instruction, where they are celebrated and respected. TCLL in the Juneau School District (JSD) is one of three optional programs open to all students, along with Montessori Borealis School and the Juneau Community Charter School. TCLL started with Sealaska Heritage in 2000, and it proved so successful, the school district assumed funding for the program. A study in 2013 found that the incorporation of traditional tribal values of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian directly contributes to Alaska Native student success and fosters an environment to grow leadership skills, self-confidence, and creativity. SHI’s goals are to build a thorough language immersive program within TCLL, increase teacher fluency in Tlingit language, and develop TCLL into an autonomous Optional Program in the JSD. TCLL is supported through Sealaska Heritage with federal funding from the Alaska Native Education Program. For more information contact Disney Williams at email@example.com.
STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math)
The institute works with public school teachers through its STEAM program, which teaches math skills to middle-school students through Northwest Coast art. 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.
(Release) The program includes an annual academy 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. Held virtually for the first time in June 2020, the camp served 40 students in grades 6-8 attended from 11 Alaska communities (Angoon, Juneau, Sitka, Kake, Hoonah, Craig, Metlakatla, Ketchikan, Hydaburg, Wrangell, Klawock) and 2 out of state communities (Anacortes and Bellevue). A team of 10 instructors led students through place-based classes and hands-on activities via Zoom on topics including formline design, core cultural values, Tlingit language, food sovereignty, technology, problem-solving, and the design of masterfully engineered Indigenous tools. Students’ supply boxes included a laptop and raw materials for projects such as squares of metal and wood, sinew, mechanical pencils, and a notebook.
Latseen Hoop Camp
Sealaska Heritage Institute sponsors an annual Latseen Hoop Camp. Sealaska Heritage developed the model for this program, which teach athletic skills and the Tlingit four core cultural values.
This innovative program provides a fun and safe environment for youth to be physically active, develop basketball fundamentals, and learn the Tlingit language! This camp is made possible through contributions from Sealaska and the City and Borough of Juneau. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latseen Running Camp
Sealaska Heritage Institute sponsors an Latseen Running Camp. Sealaska Heritage developed the model for this program, which teach athletic skills and the Tlingit four core cultural values.
This is a free program that seeks to improve strength of body, mind, and spirit while fostering the connection between our lives and land through running. The camp is for incoming 6th thru 8th grade Alaska Native student athletes.
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.
Thank you to our 2020 sponsors!
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 email@example.com.
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
- Arts and science degrees with a focus in studio arts, performing arts, cinematic arts and technology, or creative writing; or
Or, undergraduate or graduate students who are pursuing:
- A degree with a concentration in museum studies and a focus on one or more of the following: collections care, exhibit design, exhibit fabrication and conservation
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!
SHI is building the model for use in Southeast Alaska by adapting nationally recognized, successful math programs developed by other organizations outside the region.