Traditional Foods

Traditional Foods

The Road to ANCSA: Southeast Alaska Communities: Unit 5: Grade 6

Native peoples inhabited the islands and mainland of Southeast Alaska for at least ten thousand years. The relatively moderate climate of the area and an abundance of natural resources allowed for the development of highly sophisticated cultures. The social organization was complex and the development of Native art flourished. Most permanent communities began as camps or villages, with an economic base tied to fishing, forestry, and/or mining. Employment attracted many Native people to the permanent commercial centers of Southeast Alaska.

Sea Mammals (Hintaak.átx’i)

Hunting activities were determined by the seasonal availability of local resources. Tlingit people continue to have a great understanding of the environment. The techniques used to gather food have changed but subsistence hunting and fishing continue to be important today.

Berries (Gáan)

Description: Southeast Alaska has abundant resources and Haida people developed food gathering techniques around these seasonal resources, including fish, berries, and game. Personal Names: Jordan Lachler, Cherilyn Holter, Linda Schrack, Julie Folta

Beach (Chaaw Salíi)

Description: A series of elementary level thematic units featuring Haida language, culture and history. This unit is best suited for the spring because many schools conduct Sea Week/Month activities during April or May. Personal Names: Jordan Lachler, Cherilyn Holter, Linda Schrack, Julie Folta

Hooligan (Saak)

The first high tide in May brings the celebration of returning hooligan, with seagulls, seals and seal lions, eagles, ra­vens, crows and people all joining in this welcoming of spring. Students learn the cultural and ecological rules to guarantee the return of this valuable food source in this unit.

Herring (Yaaw)

Herring may not be a primary food source to Tlingit people; but those foods that we are so dependent on use herring as their primary food. Herring help teach us to respect all life and recognize how we are all linked to one another.

Berries (Tléiḵwx’)

Some wild berries are not exactly palatable eaten alone. For example, currents and soap berries are best mixed with sweeteners. Berries, like the salmonberry, are usually served mixed with cultivated berries or other fruits such as bananas. This mixture is a common food at Tlingit events and ceremonies.

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