From OpenContent Curriculum
Geography of Alaska’s Northwest: Anna’s Long Walk
This is an learning activity that integrates history, map reading skills, geography, reading and writing. It also provides insight to the route of the All Alaska Sweepstakes dog sled race between Nome and Candle, Alaska.
BSSD Standards Addressed
SS.A.14 Identifies geographical regions and features of Alaska.
Text: Shadows on the Koyukuk, by Sidney Huntington
According to the Alaskool Book Review of Shadows on the Koyukuk:
This book fits the bill if you need to read about: outdoor survival; big game hunting; trapping; Alaskan Native Education in the 1920s; history of Alaska from about 1900 to 1980 - especially the 1920s and 1930s; Athabaskan culture and history; the food chain biology of the Koyukuk region; economics of trapping, gold mining, and trading in Alaska.
Map:You’ll need a printed copy of Alaska showing detail between 152º - 167º W and 61º-69º N. (You will probably want to use the smaller working map in conjunction with a larger, more detailed wall map.)
- University of Texas Perry-Castenada Map Collection - Alaska maps galore!
- Print-ready Alaska Map of region - Ready for download
Students will become familiar with important geographic features in a portion of the state, using reading skills involving both literature and maps.
Read Ch 1, pp. 17-22 - This describes an incredible journey
- Find the location on your printed map where the Anna lived with her husband after she was married.
- Trace the route Anna traveled with the deputies on her way to court.
- What contemporary villages exist along her Yukon River travel way?
- After her time in court Anna walked from Nome to Candle to start her homeward journey.
- Find Candle on a map. How would you get there on foot from Nome?
- Check out the historic trail on which the All-Alaska Sweepstakes is run:
- All-Alaska Sweepstakes - The story does not give the details, but the trail used is almost certainly the same one.
- Trace this trail on your map.
- Next, find the two rivers she walked along and toward. Trace her journey. What range of mountains do these rivers run along the southern edge of?
- What mountains was Anna in when she crossed the headwaters?
- What river did Anna follow as she came back into Koyukuk country?
- Trace Anna’s trail as she followed this river home.
- Use the map’s scale to estimate the distance she traveled by boat, on foot, and in total.
Be prepared to share more of this book with your students. It contains very captivating stories about real events in the lives of real Alaskan people.
(The book Shadows... should be high on the list of great books about Alaska's past, highly recommended reading for every rural Alaskan teacher).
- Text pages may be read orally if the material significantly challenges students' reading abilities.
Mark Thompson, St. Michael