Science Camps

Ingrid Kritsch

Between 1995 and 2001, Gwich’in Science Camps were offered to senior high school students to give them the opportunity to learn Gwich’in traditional knowledge and western scientific knowledge while living on the land. These ten day camps allowed 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 was 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 occurred in classrooms as well as on the land. Lectures, discussions, and practical hands-on exercises are part of the curriculum. Topics taught 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 were also included. Education, career and employment opportunities in various disciplines were presented to the students.

Science camps:

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 Tł’oondih Healing Camp (Gwich'in Science Camp)