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Alaska Studies Curriculum

Passages. Alaska is a new arts-integrated, Indigenized, Alaska Studies Curriculum that invites students to explore Alaska’s histories, cultures and contemporary identities and create artistic expresions of family and community that acknowledge and celebrate their own lived experiences as integral parts of Alaska’s unfolding history.

Passages Alaska: An Indigenized, Arts-Infused Alaska Studies Curriculum presented as part of the Big Read program on Feberuary 4th, 2023 at Bunnell Street Arts Center.

  • Video Length 1:47 minute
  • What is Passages Alaska? 51 minutes
  • Q&A, How can I access this curriculum? 1:22 minutes

For the past two years, Bunnell’s Artistic Director Asia Freeman has worked with Ping Chong and Company’s Ryan Conarro and Indigenous educators Nita Rearden and Jennifer Romer to write an arts-centered, Indigenized Alaska Studies curriculum. Join a free hybrid presentation and discussion of this high school Alaska Studies curriculum. This event is co-hosted by Friends of Homer Public Library as part of February’s Big Read programming.

Alaska Studies is a requirement for high school graduation in Alaska. It has long been a propagandistic pro-settlement narrative that begins with the conquest of Alaska. A new Indigenized curriculum, Passages Alaska, has been tested by the Lower Kuskokwim School District and is now ready to share broadly. The curriculum engages storytelling, interviews with Elders, mask-making, theater, and creative writing to explore more inclusive, true stories about Alaska and Alaska cultures. Learn more about how Alaska Studies can be taught and how this curriculum could be applied in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

About The Big Read: The Friends of the Homer Library and Homer Public Library are hosting a dynamic community read of the novel The Cold Millions  by Jess Walter for Homer’s Big Read 2024. Over a six-week period in January and February 2024, the community will be invited to participate in book clubs and events that promote curiosity, conversation, and engagement with the book, the library, and the community. The Big Read culminates with an in-person keynote address by the author.

The Cold MIllions by Jess Walters is an historical novel which takes place during the Free Speech Riots in Spokane during the early twentieth century and addresses the many ways the working poor, women, and Indigenous people are/were exploited by rich businessmen, police, and the government. The well-crafted novel is told from various viewpoints, including an Indigenous Salish character who dies assisting labor unions. Cold Millions gives a sweeping critique of the fallout of capitalism and colonialism – and leave one thinking about whose stories are told, how they are told, and what contemporary colonialism looks like.

This program is supported by Bunnell Street Arts Center, Homer Public Library, The Big Read, and Ping Chong and Company. NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

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