Native knowledge is important to both Natives and communities at large as mainstream America comes to terms with our dependence on a "healthy earth." Indigenous knowledge has been used for thousands of years to allow cultures around the world to survive in their environments. Inuit people in the north adapted to cold conditions and long winters; Hawaiians developed a cycle of living that allowed them to survive constant heat. The Native people of the Northwest live in a mild environment that supports a diversity of aquatic and land animals. These ideal environmental conditions allowed Native peoples to develop elaborately structured cultures.
Cycles including the moon and tides in Southeast Alaska are the central themes of this curriculum. By observing changes in the shape of the moon and the rhythmic changes in the tides, children will learn to identify patterns in change.
We believe that developing a personal relationship between the school system and the Native student at an early age greatly enhances learning throughout the school years. The goal of "Tlingit moon and Tide" curriculum is to bring Alaska Native science and ecological understanding into the elementary classroom to:
- Increase the self-esteem of Native students who traditionally perform low in science, and
- Introduce students to this type and value of knowledge.
Reprinted from "Tlingit Moon and Tide" with permission from Dr. Dolly Garza.