“Place-based Education\” Lecture – Ray Barnhadt 3

Cultural Standards for Students:

Culturally knowledgeable students are well grounded in the cultural heritage and traditions of their community. This is one of the 27 Cultural Standards that are now a required component of all educational programs in Alaska:

Culturally knowledgeable students are well grounded in the cultural heritage and traditions of their community.

For each Cultural Standard, there are a half-dozen examples of what that standard looks like in practice. Copies of these documents are available at the web site address that I will give you at the end of the presentation.

In addition to the Cultural Standards themselves, Native people have also developed a series of guidelines to help implement the standards in various elements of the educational system, including outlining what teachers need to know and be able to do to successfully implement the standards in their schools. If anyone is interested in more information on how these ideas impact teacher preparation, you can speak with my wife, Carol, who is the head of the Elementary Teacher Education Program in Fairbanks and is here with us this evening.

Another area of consideration was a set of guidelines on the role of traditional parenting and child-rearing practices as they might be incorporated in school and community practices.

Of particular concern was the need to acquaint teachers, most of whom come from outside the communities in which they teach, with local practices regarding the role of Elders and the protocols associated with the knowledge they contribute to the educational process. This is one of the Elders who shared much about her own up-bringing and helped find ways to bring that local knowledge into the schools in culturally appropriate ways. You will be hearing more about Louise when Cecilia describes the educational philosophy that is embedded in the next slide.

As you will see when you hear from Cecilia, the Yup\’ik and Cup\’ik people of Southwest Alaska are quite capable of defining their own deeply rooted expectations when it comes to the education of their children.

As I indicated earlier, there are many areas in which there is local knowledge in every community that can serve as a starting point for teaching the subject matter that we draw upon for the school curriculum. Left are just a few examples of the place- and culture-based educational resources we have developed to illustrate how what students experience in school can be built upon the life they lead out of school.

For example, there is very little that we teach in the science curriculum that can\’t be demonstrated through examples drawn from the local community, including remote villages in rural Alaska.

Sled runners can be used to illustrate friction. Local weather observations can be compared with satellite images to study meteorology. The local language can be used to identify the many variations of snow and ice conditions to illustrate states of matter, sublimation, energy transfer, thermodynamics, etc.

Math problems can be constructed around local themes.

Local knowledge about constellations, celestial navigation, tidal patterns, seasonal change indicators, etc. are abundant in every community and can bring learning alive in ways that are seldom achieved in the classroom setting alone.

Knowledge about local edible and medicinal plants and traditional healing practices continue to be a matter of survival in many Native communities, to the point where ethno-botany has become a field of study in its own right.

To help teachers see the possibilities and benefits of tapping into the knowledge base in the surrounding community and environment, we have developed a \”Handbook for Culturally Responsive Science Curriculum\”.
The curriculum materials and cultural resources that are developed by teachers have been assembled in a web-based curriculum clearinghouse to make them available to teachers anywhere in Alaska and beyond.

As these curriculum resources have accumulated over the past ten years, we have been able to organize them around a series of themes that provide a culturally-based framework that is now being put to use to serve as a full grade 7-12 curriculum in a demonstration school in Fairbanks.

The Effie Kokrine Charter School is organized on a year-round seasonal calendar and all courses are offered on an intensive three-week block schedule, to allow time for students to spend extended periods of time out in the community and surrounding environment.

In summary, the river banks and ocean shores of Alaska are increasingly providing the most promising learning environment for achieving the goals of both academic and cultural education.

Through a place- and culturally-based pedagogy, students are being prepared to make a life for themselves in a global world while at the same time learning the skills to serve as knowledgeable stewards of their own communities and the environment on which their livelihood depends.

And teachers are learning to not just teach about culture as another subject in the school curriculum, but to teach through the local culture as a doorway unto the world.

You can find much more information about the issues I\’ve discussed here today on the Alaska Native Knowledge Network web site at www.ankn.uaf.edu.

“Place-based Education\” Lecture – Ray Barnhadt 2

Alaska Native Education:Steps Toward Reciprocity

Historically, schools in rural Alaska have been largely alien institutions with an imported curriculum that gave little consideration to the unique knowledge and skills that already existed in the communities they served.
It wasn\’t until the middle of the last century that elementary schools were established in Native communities, and only 30 years ago that secondary schools became available in rural communities.
Before 1975, most village students had to leave their home community and attend a boarding school to obtain a high school education. So our task has been to open up a dialogue to foster a two-way exchange of ideas, knowledge and skills between the schools and the communities they serve, recognizing that each contains knowledge of value to the students.

A major contribution toward opening this dialogue was the work of Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, whose doctoral dissertation provided critical insights into the world view, ways of knowing and educational practices of his people, the Yupiaq of Southwest Alaska.

Central to Dr. Kawagley\’s thesis was the representation of a Yupiaq world view as made up of a dynamic relationship between the human, natural and spiritual realms that constitute the whole of Yupiaq existence. He argued that one cannot address the role of the human realm without taking into consideration our interdependency with the natural and spiritual worlds. In other words, we can\’t teach science or history apart from understanding how we as humans interact with the world around us.

This chart illustrates how we went about introducing changes into the educational systems at two levels.

First, we had to engage Native elders to better understand how the local knowledge systems functioned in ways that could be drawn upon to enhance the school curriculum (the initiatives along the upper stream).
Then we had to find ways to make room in the established state curriculum to incorporate the world view, knowledge and ways of knowing present in the communities.

The goal was to bring the two streams of knowledge together in a way that they could complement one another to broaden and deepen the educational experiences of the students.

As we worked with the elders, it soon became apparent that we had to go beyond the visible aspects of the local cultures that schools typically had been limited to, such as dancing, foods, story-telling or subsistence practices (the tip of the iceberg), and take into consideration the deeper, less visible knowledge that continues to be an important part of life in Native communities.

Some of these less tangible elements of local knowledge that offer a rich opportunity for students to engage in comparative study include weather forecasting, navigation skills, traditional medicines, measurement systems, language patterns, local technologies and survival skills.

Elders themselves have become important contributors to the process of documenting local knowledge, such as this book by Athabascan Elder, Howard Luke. Howard\’s book includes a detailed map of the traditional places of importance to the people who inhabited Interior Alaska long before the gold rush brought a new form of livelihood to the Tanana Valley.

Elders in each cultural region of Alaska have also contributed to the educational process in their communities by putting together a list of values that they consider as representative of who they are and how they interact with the world around them.

These values serve as an important guide for teachers and community members to socialize young people into their roles as future leaders and culture bearers in their communities.

This is another example of local values from the Yupik people in Southwest Alaska, with both a Yupik and English translation.

As Native people in Alaska began to put forward their own ideas of how schools might best contribute to the educational and cultural well-being of their children, it became apparent that the school curriculum that was outlined in the academic content standards prepared by the Alaska Department of Education did not provide sufficient guidance to produce a well-rounded education, particularly for Native students.To address this deficiency in the State system, Native people engaged in a two-year process to prepare their own version of a comprehensive outline of what students needed to learn to be full contributors to their families and communities. In 1998, the Alaska Department of Education adopted these \”Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools\” as an additional component of the State standards for schools.

More than 1,000 joined meetings with international guests from Kenya, Middle East and Korea on World School Network\’s events.

A presentation session at the auditorium of International Plaza of JICA, Japan International Cooperation Agency.
A presentation session at the auditorium of International Plaza of JICA, Japan International Cooperation Agency.

A series of international events of World School Network, a project of Non Profit Organization ECOPLUS, was held in Tokyo and Niigata, Japan from 10th to 14th February 2007.

A series of international events of World School Network, a project of Non Profit Organization ECOPLUS, was held in Tokyo and Niigata, Japan from 10th to 14th February 2007 inviting 23 international guests from 4 countries.

In Tochikubo village in Niigata, international participants experienced Japanese traditional ways of life in deep snow.
In Tochikubo village in Niigata, international participants experienced Japanese traditional ways of life in deep snow.

In addition to presentation sessions and workshops, international guests visited schools and other places in Tokyo metropolitan area and shared their experiences with more than 1,000 students, educators and citizens.

Students and educators from Kenya, Palestine, Israel and Korea joined the presentation session and workshop held in Tokyo with Japanese participants. International guests moved to a mountainous village called Tochikubo in Minamiuonuma city, Niigata and learned Japanese traditional life which has been keeping harmonious relation with their environment for hundreds years.
At World School Network, several joint projects related on environment are going on, connecting students in the world from more than 10 countries and encouraging students to re-focus on their own area. This series were supported by Japan foundation and Nippon Koa Insurance company.

For these events, a lot of paper works, coordinations, telephone calls, fax exchanges and others were needed for acceptance of international guests because of financial and political situations specially in Kenya and Middle East. One of two students invited from Palestine were not able to pass the border to Jordan by very bureaucratic reasons and a mother of only one student who successfully visited Japan needed to stay in Jordan until her son came back from Japan for ten days by strange regulations.

Various activities at the events are available at following URL.

“Place-based Education\” Lecture- Ray Barnhadt 1

442-lRay Barnhardt
Professor of Cross-Cultural Education and Rural Development, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Co-Director, Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative


The work that I will be describing this evening is an outgrowth of a ten-year educational initiative aimed at helping schools in rural Alaska better serve the needs of Native children and communities.

The work was carried out through the Alaska Federation of Natives in collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Department of Education with funding from the US National Science Foundation.

I served as one of three Co-Directors for the project, working closely with Alaska Native educators and elders from throughout Alaska.

The most critical contributors on whom this work depended were the Alaska Native knowledge-bearers, such as Cecilia Martz, whom you will be hearing from in a short while, and these Athabascan elders from the village of Old Minto, who have acquired encyclopedic knowledge about the place they have inhabited for millennia.

Since Alaska is made up of many different cultural and linguistic groups (as illustrated on this map), each of which has adapted to a diverse set of environmental conditions ranging from coastal rainforest to Arctic tundra, the task of developing a more culturally appropriate educational system had to take into consideration the particular world view, values and traditions of each cultural region.

“Place-ased Educaiton\” Lecture Mike Martz 1

Mike Martz
Senior Producer, KYUK-TV, Bethel Broadcasting, Inc
Board member, the Alaska Historical Society, the Alaska
Moving Image Preservation Association

Sequence from \”To Show What We Know\”

I would like to show a part of video that I made in 1998. Mr. Barnhardt also was involved in this educational project as a co-director. This video shows children from northern area of Kodiak Island who participated in the summer camp learn science and culture together with teachers and elders.
Since Alaska is a huge state, there are various environment. You can see some part of such diversity through this video.

At a camp along a stretch of beach on Afognak Island north of Kodiak, a small group of young children and teachers gathered for a week of sharing and discovery. The beach is called Katenai (COT-TEN-KNEE). The camp, the Academy of Elders/AISES Science Camp, is a cooperative venture of the Kodiak Area Native Association, the Afognak Corporation and the Kodiak Island Borough School District.

Teri Schneider:
The purpose of this camp is first of all to bring together elders with other community members and educators, both teachers and teachers aides, new teachers and teachers that have been in Kodiak a long time along with students.
We bring them together in this outside setting that is so natural for our children to be in and very natural for many of our elders to be in to get that sense of community, of the community in which we live, the community we\’re a part of.
We also are providing the opportunity for the children as well as the teachers to learn first hand from elders and from other community members traditional ways of doing things and the values that go along with that… bringing together the values of our Native people with Western science and the exploration of science as we see it here in Kodiak. We\’d like to stimulate interest in the sciences and technology and mathematics among our kids and the way we do that is to explore our surroundings and explore traditional ways of doing things and show kids the science that in involved in traditional ways of thinking and doing things.

[We see students learning how to start fire with tinder and determining the insulating value of local furs through a temperature experiment.]

Teri Schneider:
We\’d like to be developing curriculum that integrates indigenous ways of doing things, indigenous knowledge, into the current of western science as we know it today.

[We see a student learning the waterproof stitch using seal gut.]

Teri Schneider:
And ultimately we\’d like to explore the rich culture and heritage of the Alutiq people [indigenous people of the Kodiak area] both from the past and also in the present.

[We see a montage of activities from the camp.]

The camp shared the facilities of the Afognak Native Corporation\’s \”Dig Afognak\” archaeological project. This presented the children with an opportunity to see first hand what archaeologists do by actually participating in the excavation work at the dig site.

[We see boys working at the dig site; children working in the \”lab tent\”, a girl using a microscope and a girl working on learning the waterproof stitch with several adults.]

Teri Schneider:
It\’s our desire that the students who leave this camp leave with a framework or even a completed science project so that they will go back to their home village and be able to share that with other students and their own families. Ultimately we want the kids to enter their projects into the rural science fair which will take place here around the district in November [1998]. Everyone I\’ve spoken to here has said that it\’s worth doing. It\’s worth doing at this time of year, during the summer, when we don\’t think of school going on.

[We see children and elders on the beach, doing science project work, checking a fish net, dancing and playing, elders looking on and smiling.]

Teri Schneider:
It\’s worth doing here on a beach like Katenai. It\’s worth doing when we look at the archaeology going on and the science applications that are going on. And when I speak with the elders they say they are very proud of what\’s happening here both as a community building experience and also educationally to see how much their children know. It makes them very proud.

[We see the entire camp group in a large circle dancing.]

Original of this video is for 26 minutes. Students who participated in this camp presented what they have learned in the camp in the Exhibition of Science project. There are several other summer camps and some of them are held in the inland area.

Reply from Alaska

442-lSince there were not enough time for Q&A in the Tokyo seminar, the speakers from Alaska replied to the questions which participatns asked in the questionnaire.

1. How do you reconcile the difference in speed between knowledge transfer by elders and societal changes?

This is a significant problem because the accelerating societal changes brought about by outside influences have disrupted the natural knowledge transfer processes between Elders and the younger generations. This breakdown is compounded by bureaucratic structures that seek short-term solutions to long-term problems that are cross-generational in nature, and thus often exacerbate the problems. Thus much of our effort has been focused on facilitating communication across the generation gap and getting Elders engaged in ways where they can bring their influence to bear on the educational processes in the schools and in the communities. (Ray Barnhardt)

To us it has become imperative that we speed up our efforts due to the negative social changes. (Tacuk)
2. How long does it take to conduct Yaaveskaniryaraq Project?

It usually takes one year, and the students continue their living it themselves. It is a lifelong learning process, though. When students learn, they usually apply it to their everyday living. (Tacuk)
3. Do you record elders� knowledge in a film?

443-lYes, we have recorded elders� knowledge on videotape. Our TV station has about 40 hours of elder recordings on videotape and another 20 hours on audiotape. There is an elder that hosts a radio talk show in the Yup段k language once a week. Teachers have used the recordings and some have been used in the Yaaaveskaniryaraq program. (Mike Martz)

Elder痴 knowledge is being recorded on video in many communities, including getting students in the schools involved in conducting interviews and producing documentaries of traditional knowledge and skills. See the following web sites for examples: http://www.babiche.org/about.html and http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/NPE/oral.html.
(Ray Barnhardt)

4. What are the issues and problems in conducting the Yaaves program?

The travel and weather, elders are dying very fast, students are very busy, we are very busy, funding, and other problems, but even so we do it despite all these. (Tacuk)
5. What are you seeking as an ideal result by what you are doing?

The ideal result of this work will be when Native people are in a position to make all the political and professional decisions that impact their communities and the education of their children. (Ray Barnhardt)
6. Better people, reinstituting our good values (which are sorely needed in today痴 society), overall better living socially. (Tacuk)
7. If there is a goal in 兎ducation�, what is the goal for you?

The over-arching goal of this work is to put control of education back in the hands of the people for whom it is intended � in this case, the Native people whose traditional knowledge systems are still intact and have an adaptive integrity of their own, but have been largely ignored by the schools for the past 100 years. (Ray Barnhardt)

Native education痴 goal is good human beings. (Tacuk)
8. Why do the youth leave villages?

While some youth have left their home communities to pursue education and job opportunities elsewhere, they are increasingly returning to put their knowledge and skills to work in ways that are compatible with village life, including starting cottage industries and taking on jobs such as teaching which have historically been held by outsiders. (Ray Barnhardt)

I think youth leave villages in Alaska for some of the same reasons that youth leave rural areas of Japan: They are looking for more opportunities for employment than can be found in villages where there are virtually no opportunities for full time or even part time employment. They池e also influenced by what they see on television and from their attendance at schools outside their home communities. (Mike Martz)

They think living the American dream of high paying jobs, material goods, good times, are better in cities than villages. Once they get older and wiser, they realize otherwise! (Tacuk)
9. I heard that it is increasingly difficult to protect the nature in Alaska in Bush administration. Does this have any influence in the life of native people?

Large scale industrial development (e.g., mining and oil development) and related climate changes have been a major source of concern for Native people because of its adverse impact on the natural environment on which much of their livelihood depends. There continues to be on-going tension between subsistence, commercial and sport uses of natural resources, with many cultural, political and economic issues at stake. It remains to be seen what impact the recent shift in the U.S. political landscape will have on realigning policy priorities in these areas. (Ray Barnhardt)

The Bush administration has pushed for more development, as has the majority party in the Alaska legislature especially in an attempt to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and mineral exploration. There has also been a recent scandal involving pipeline corrosion on the oil fields of the North Slope. This all does have an influence on the lives of Native Alaskans as there is more pressure on Native people near potential reserves of coal, gold and other minerals, oil and gas deposits, to allow development on their lands. This results in difficult and often divisive debates in Native communities with some people supporting development because of the job and economic opportunities development will offer while others oppose development because of the potential environmental damage and the loss of their subsistence lifestyle and cultural values that can result from resource development. (Mike Martz)
10. Do you think it is meaningful to learn about other places outside of your own?

It deepens our understanding of our own place by learning about similarities and differences with other places. It also broadens and deepens our understanding of other places by having a deep understanding of our own place. (Ray Barnhardt)

Definitely. It makes you really appreciate who you are because that is where you are the most comfortable. It also makes your knowledge of the world more real and broad. (Tacuk)

It痴 always meaningful to learn about other places outside one痴 own. Our travels in Japan were a wonderful opportunity to see how other people in a different part of the world live. It痴 then possible to compare that new experience with our own lives at home. (Mike Martz)
11. What do you feel lacking in environmental education and place-based education in Japan?

One of the issues that came up several times during our visit is the policy of rotating teachers from school to school, which inhibits the opportunities for acquiring a deep understanding of a particular place and integrating that understanding into the curriculum. The frequent turnover of educational personnel limits the application of place-based education strategies. (Ray Barnhardt)
12. Culture changes. How do you view the culture and what is your approach to teaching it? Do you teach the culture cores which do not change or as way of thinking?

Culture defines a way of life and shapes the identity of a people, and it is learned primarily through direct participation in the living culture. That is why it is so important for Native people to have control over their schools, so they can bring their own cultural perspective into the educational experiences of their children. It is also why place-based education strategies are well suited to inculcating indigenous cultural knowledge into the next generation. (Ray Barnhardt)
The good things of the culture like the values, dance, songs, beliefs, etc are some of the things that should be taught in a culture class. The most difficult are the abstract concepts. (Tacuk)
13. Japanese school education attempts to raise the students� motivation by competition, which I believe is a mistake. Do you make much of 田ooperation� in Alaska?

Cooperation and sharing are among the most universal of cultural values embraced by Native peoples in Alaska, so we are encouraging schools to minimize competitive strategies and incorporate cooperation and sharing into their teaching practices as much as possible. (Ray Barnhardt)
14. Please give me a hint what we can count on in a place where we lost things which should have been protected.

Indigenous peoples around the world are seeking to recover knowledge, skills, language and traditions that were discontinued or lost under colonial domination. However, such recovery work must be initiated by the people themselves, not by someone external to the society that has been impacted. In this way, many indigenous peoples from the Maori to the Sami are recovering their language and cultural traditions. (Ray Barnhardt)
15. What are the problems that westernized Alaska Natives face?

One of the biggest challenges that Native people face in the exercise of self-determination is finding ways to reconcile traditional cultural practices with the demands of the bureaucratic institutional structures (e.g., schools) that have been put in place in their communities. (Ray Barnhardt)

Alcoholism, drug addiction, family dysfunction and disintegration due to a loss of core traditional values, a loss of 澱elonging�, an uncertainty about their cultural identity. Many do overcome these problems but it takes a long time. It involves a return to their core traditional values. (Mike Martz)
16. How do you define 菟lace� in place-based education?

撤lace� in place-based education is intended to encompass the whole of the physical, cultural and community environment in which people live their lives. Place-based education grounds learning in a deep understanding of the local 菟lace� as a foundation for learning about and engaging with the rest of the world (i.e., think globally, act locally). (Ray Barnhardt)
17. How would you interpret and explain why Japanese and Alaska natives have similar way of thinking and viewing the nature?

The more people depend on maintaining a respectful relationship with the environment to sustain their way of life, the more common their way of thinking about the environment is likely to be. The laws of nature in Japan are the same as those in Alaska. (Ray Barnhardt)
18. I have an impression that Yaaveskaniryaraq takes a method of story telling. Do you do other activities and discussion programs in Yaaves?

Much, much more. We discuss our world views, values, dance/song, seasons, child rearing, science, sociology, math. We cram as much as we can into it with elders taking the lead. (Tacuk)

18. Are there many female elders?

Tacuk is a leading example . . . (Ray Barnhardt)

Most of my ancestors were female elders. (Tacuk)
19. What do you think about the wealth in the western concept?

The western definition of wealth is based on a misplaced emphasis on the accumulation of material goods with a concomitant disregard for cultural and spiritual well-being. As Oscar Kawagley puts it, western society (including schooling) places the emphasis on making a living as opposed to making a life for ones self. (Ray Barnhardt)
20. Has the efforts to keep native痴 culture been done as volunteer bases?

While some limited external resources have been available for cultural revitalization efforts, the most important and successful efforts have been those that originated from the communities themselves and are sustained by volunteer community effort. (Ray Barnhardt)
21. What is an important thing for human beings in life?

To live their precious cultural lives. (Tacuk)
22. How is story telling maintained?

Mostly in Yaaveskaniryaraq and in the schools. It used to be every family would have story times like at bedtimes. Many people don稚 know the stories anymore so they have to be reintroduced. (Tacuk)

Village of terraced rice paddies

Traditional rice harvesting work was done and rice was drying naturally in traditional way. This is set for high scholl students from city but most part of the work was done by local elders.
Traditional rice harvesting work was done and rice was drying naturally in traditional way. This is set for high scholl students from city but most part of the work was done by local elders.

Tochikubo has a beautiful scenery looking down entire Minamiuonuma area over its own terraced rice paddies.

Opposite side of the valley from Shimizu, over 60 families are living in this mountainous village.

At this elementary school, only 10 children are being taught by 7 teachers. This place is also covered by over 4 meter of snow.

Next to the village, there are skying slopes and close to the town, many villagers commute to their work place. Rice paddies are continuously spreading along the slope of the hills and people use snow-free season fully for rice growing.

Rice under \"hasa\" or drying rudder. \'The taste is definitely better than modern machine technique,\' villagers say.
Rice under \”hasa\” or drying rudder. \’The taste is definitely better than modern machine technique,\’ villagers say.

Beech forest are covering the mountains and mountain goats and endangered butterflies are easily observed. Salamanders are found in fresh streams.

Number of children is decreasing and aging of the community is proceeding, so villagers are wondering about the future of their community.

Village of hardness and beauty

In September, fresh green colors are covering mountains and valleys where is covered by snow sometimes more than 4-5 meters in winter.
In September, fresh green colors are covering mountains and valleys where is covered by snow sometimes more than 4-5 meters in winter.

Shimizu is the last village to the mount Makihata which is acclaimed one of the best 100 mountains in Japan.

At shimizu, Less than 20 households are living calmly surrounded by beautiful forest.

There was a pass way connecting Echigo and Kanto area through Shimizu village and this village saw some tycoons and their samurais moving toward Kanto area for their battle.

Shimizu is the one of the place which has the heaviest snow falls in this snowy area. People need to fight with the snow for surviving.
Shimizu is the one of the place which has the heaviest snow falls in this snowy area. People need to fight with the snow for surviving.

Elevation is around 600 meters and in the winter season easily over 4 meter of snow covers the village.

The blanch school had closed 20 years ago and very limited number of children are living here.

Aged 20 families are just staying here. Slopes are steep so that rice paddies are not easy to set.
Lumbering business is dying away pressed by cheap imported materials. Maintenance work for high voltage power lines which had been supporting the village economy is shrinking hard because of advancement of remote monitoring technology. The future of the village is really on the edge.

On the other hand, nature of the mountain is still health. Mountain goats, monkeys and bears are walking around the village. Villagers keep their own way of life collecting mountain vegetables in the spring and variety of mushrooms in the fall.

ECOPLUS Participation in Global Village of EXPO 2005, Aichi, Japan

A woman from Nagaland, India showing Naga\'s traditional weaving at EXPO 2005.
A woman from Nagaland, India showing Naga\’s traditional weaving at EXPO 2005.

Read ECOPLUS direct interactions with 15,000 visitors and the spotlight attention on the indigenous people from Alaska and India at EXPO 2005.

For 45 days from mid March to end April 2005, ECOPLUS participated in the Global Village of EXPO 2005 held in Aichi, Japan. ECOPLUS participation in the EXPO started at the begining of the exhibition and was a \”top batter\” in one of the five mobile mini-pavilions at the Global Village. The mobile mini-pavilions rotated their positions around the Global Village every month. Units in the village\’s pavilions were co-hosted by NGOs and NPOs from Japan and overseas.

With the help of volunteers primarily from local Aichi Prefecture, ECOPLUS was able to have direct contact with approximately 15,000 people, conversing with them about nature experiences and environmental education activities, as well as recording \”Earth Messages” for the future.

Indigenous people – Yupik from Russian Mission, Alaska and Naga from Nagaland, a mountainous region in Northeast India – joined ECOPLUS\’ pavilion.

The Yupik students and their teacher, Mike Hull, livened up the opening ceremony at the Global Village with their song & dance performances. Accompanied by music from round drums and slow rhythm singing, their dances, which articulate nature and their daily lives became a symbol of the Global Village. It even appeared on national television news. The Yupik students’ photography presentations on Yupik lifestyle and Mike Hull’s talk on education and the environment in Alaska were also greeted with praises from fellow participants in the village.

The group from Nagaland, Northeast India, which joined ECOPLUS in late April included youths from mountain villages situated at 1,500 meters above sea level and Amba Jamir from the Missing Link (an NGO which supports such mountain villagers). Though broadly referred to as Naga, each of these participants belongs to their own tribe, such as Ao. The women exhibited their traditional weaving skills, while the men exhibited crafts made from bamboo along side a showcase on Nagaland mountainous tribes’ farming method. Their traditional method of farming which involves burning and a cyclical slash as the only tool is carried out in accordance to, and in perfect harmony with, nature’s rhythm They use one plot of forest for two years and let it rest for the next 17 years.

Units participated in the Global Village in April were unique in that they were involved in activities during the EXPO’s preview, prior to the opening of the EXPO. However, things did not get off to a smooth start at the beginning. Seasonally, it was still cold enough for snow, the EXPO management was still in a trial and error phrase and the media focused coverage only on main attractions like the robots and mammoth, resulting in few visitors to the Global Village.

The low number of 200 daily visitors at the beginning gradually increased to 500 towards the second half and soon volunteers were getting very busy attending to them. Over 40 ECOPLUS’ volunteers participated and helped out at ECOPLUS’ pavilion with YAMAZAKI Madoka participated for the entire EXPO as a live-in volunteer. Members of Tokai Bank\’s alumni group rotated to fill positions and made use of their communication skills acquired from various experiences. Many young volunteers took their hats off to one another and congratulated themselves for the experiences they have gained from participating in the exhibition.

The hard disk of the computer hosting the special EXPO web site set up for ECOPLUS\’ participation in the Global Village of EXPO 2005, Aichi, crashed at the end of April. Incessant attempts to recover the hard disc by specialists in both Japan and USA were, unfortunately, met without any success. Due to serious damages to the surface of the disc, the specialists rendered the hard disk irrecoverable. Though ECOPLUS has replaced broken parts, restored the functions of the site and re-entered data that is replaceable, data from the nearly 300 messages left by visitors at the expo was not able to be recovered. We sincerely apologize for our inability to handling data properly.