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Iñupiaq Lessons: Language and Culture

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Cultures +5 Age Level Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

The Alaska Office of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center hosted an Iñupiaq language and culture seminar in January 2011, bringing together eight fluent speakers: Sylvester Ayek, Bernadette Alvanna-Stimpfle, Alvira Downey, Herbert Foster Sr., Willie Goodwin Jr., Jana Harcharek, Faye Ongtowasruk and Rachel Riley. They met for four days to discuss Iñupiaq cultural heritage objects in the Smithsonian exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska at the Anchorage Museum.

During the seminar, the Iñupiaq language was documented, including three different dialects, and language and culture teaching materials were written for use in schools and homes throughout Alaska and beyond. Six objects from the Smithsonian collections – with links below – are featured in the guide and lessons presented here. These resources pair with six video lesons that offer teachers, students, parents and lifelong learners access to Iñupiaq language and lifeways.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, language, Indigenous, Iñupiaq, Inupiaq, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Iñupiaq lessons: Language experts

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Listen & Learn: Iñupiaq Language and Culture Video Lessons

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Listen & Learn Iñupiaq (1 of 6): Aqłitik (Dance mitts)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Dance mitts

National Museum of the American Indian

High-kick ball

National Museum of the American Indian

Listen & Learn Iñupiaq (3 of 6): Nauligaq, Unaaq (Harpoon)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Harpoon

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Child's waterproof boots

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Listen & Learn Iñupiaq (5 of 6): Qiḷaun, Sauyaq (Drum)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Drum

National Museum of the American Indian

Ulu

National Museum of the American Indian