Since 1995, Gwich’in Science Camps have offered senior high school students the opportunity to learn Gwich’in traditional knowledge and western scientific knowledge while living on the land. These ten day camps allow students to earn school credits, working with Gwich’in Elders and professionals in the fields of biology, geography and anthropology, and learning about the area’s natural and human history.
A major goal of the camps is to stimulate an interest in science and Gwich’in culture, and encourage students to stay in school so they can take an active role in research and management of Gwich’in lands and resources.
Instruction at the camps occurs in classrooms as well as on the land. Lectures, discussions, and practical hands-on exercises are part of the curriculum. Topics taught have included land claims (land use and land management, heritage chapter of the claim, political and cultural history), oral history, renewable resources and harvest studies, and biogeography. Gwich’in cultural components such as ethnobotany, place names and traditional caribou skin clothing are also included. Education, career and employment opportunities in various disciplines are presented to the students.
Science camps to date:
1995 Martin Zheh (Ethno-Archaeology and Cultural Camp)
1996 Mouth of the Peel Village (Delta Science Camp)
1997 Knut Lang Camp (Gwich'in Science Camp)
1998 Rachel Reindeer Camp (Gwich'in Science Camp)
2000 Knut Lang Camp (Gwich'in Science Camp)
2001 Tl'oondih Healing Camp (Gwich'in Science Camp)