November 29, 2007

Speaking in circles

Engaged in culture:  Native youth answer a call

Through the help of community and classes, some young adults embrace a once endangered heritageToday, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and other Native people are dancing, weaving, carving, canoeing, preparing Native foods and speaking Native languages. They are getting together in beading and drumming circles and meeting to chat in their Native tongue. They are gathering foods from the land and taking long walks with elders.

Tlingit immersion teacher Kitty Eddy helped start the first immersion class in 2000, through the Juneau School District. Still in operation, the class offers academics, language and culture within a Tlingit cultural context. When other kids are carving pumpkins, her students are designing totems or building traditional longhouses.

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