This morning, before school started, I happened into the kindergarten classroom and was tickled to find children of various ages having a blast with all the cool stuff in the play area. It always surprises me a little that, in spite of its remote location, our school is well-equipped with all those creative treasures that encourage and delight the imagination.
Today I paused at the Lego table and traded high fives with a first grader who was busily snapping plastic pieces together. He appeared to be constructing some sort of weapon. That wasn't too surprising. It doesn't really matter what type of construction material is involved...modeling clay, Lincoln logs, K-nex, Legos, even a plain old popsicle stick. At some point, most boys can (and usually will) create a gun. I'll be honest, that has bothered me at times. There is always a concern that kids will fail to recognize the value of preserving life if they are allowed to act out imaginary violence against others during play.
I was well on my way to voicing my concern when the intercom squawked the announcement for breakfast. That triggered a frenzied exodus toward muffins and applesauce and within seconds I was standing in the play area alone. As I passed by the Lego table, I glanced back down at the abandoned weapon and realized that I probably shouldn't have worried. This boy might just have a pretty good handle on preserving life after all.
Welcome to the Arctic! This space is dedicated to observations and experiences related to daily life in the Inupiat Eskimo village of Atqasuk. Questions and comments are invited. Thanks for visiting! Quyanaqpaq!
nuna:tundra, the land atikluk:snow shirt, parka cover
Interested in Inuit culture? Check out these films...
The Fast Runner is an excellent representation of ancient Inuit culture. The R-rating is for nudity, violence, and some language. Subtitles are utilized throughout. I do not recommend this film for children, but it's an extremely accurate portrayal of the culture. It was introduced to me by an Inupiat woman who raved about it. And I agree!
For a preview, click here.
The Snow Walker is another excellent representation of Inuit culture circa 1940's. This film is rated PG, I'm guessing for language. No subtitles that I remember. It starts a little slow, but gets much better. It will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the survival skills of this culture.
For a preview, click here.
Great For Kids!
Whale Snow by Debby Dahl Edwardson is a warm and culturally sensitive story centered on the Inupiat subsistence tradition of whaling. It is available in both English and Inupiaq translation. The illustrations, by Annie Patterson are exquisite and add to the quiet softness that the story inspires.
To order this title on Amazon.com, click here.
The Alaska Geographic series is an excellent informational resource. The edition entitled North Slope Now deals exclusively with this area and even features relatives of my students. Although it was published in 1989, it is still current enough to provide a general understanding of culture, lifestyle, and issues faced by this northern-most region.
To order this title from Alaska Geographic, click here.
More about Kaktovik Disaster of 2005 (from Dec post, "The Edge")