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Set in the remote Alaskan Yukon Delta, Yukon King follows Yup'ik fisherman Ray Waska as he teaches his grandchildren how to fish during the summer salmon run. With environmental and cultural forces threatening their subsistence way of life, Roy holds onto the hope that his grandsons will one day pass on the traditional knowledge to their children.
The video is accompanied by a lesson plan, Resiliency Among the Salmon People, that is intended to encourage student reflection on and discussion about this specific case of cultural loss and more generally the inevitability of change as society pursues "progress".
Student viewing of the film and associated teacher questioning will help students identify those skills related to effective media messaging - telling a story that engages the audience.
The lesson plan attached to the video suggests that students debate whether the cultural changes depicted in the film are an inevitable consequences of 'progress". Participation in such a debate would help students strengthen skills associated with clarifying, verifying, or challenging ideas and conclusions.
The issue of cultural survival is likely to demand more of our attention as technological and other changes weaken traditional lifestyles. The case study presented here - the threat to the Yup'ik traditional fishing and hunting way of life - provides students with an interesting introduction to the larger issue and the use of a film supported by a lesson plan is an effective strategy in doing so.
Teachers of Media Studies courses may find the film to be a useful study of effective messaging in film. The film would also have relevance for various courses in Native or Aboriginal Studies.The larger issue of cultural survival is also addressed in a number of Social Studies courses.
The video is perhaps best used as an introduction to a larger study of the struggle of indigenous cultures to survive.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.