Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I would like to wish everyone in this class good luck in your future careers as educators. I am proud to see growing numbers of Native teachers in Alaska. I would like to thank Skip Via for teaching us valuable skills in technology that have prepared me for my upcoming education classes. I have learned a lot from the lessons and assignments I completed in this class. I’ve enjoyed reading my peers and the instructors stories and comments this semester. The information I have learned from this class will help me with my upcoming classes as well as my career as a teacher.
I would like to wish everyone a “Angniq Alussistuaq” (Merry Christmas) and a “Assilriamek Allraquukegtaarmek”! (Happy New Year).

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Enjoy the imovie.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Traditional Wooden Sled

I was walking to the post office this afternoon and I saw Ralph Kiunya making a wooden sled. I had seen him make wooden sleds several times since I’ve been back to Kong. I asked him what he’s going to do with it. When he’s finished building it, he will sell it to someone from another village for a couple hundred dollars. From time to time he receives orders for wooden sleds. Ralph has a reputation for creating quality sleds at a low price. He’s Kong’s version of Wal-Mart, but instead of the goods coming from China, they come from the hardworking hands of an American Yup'ik Eskimo.

Since jobs are very scarce in the villages, some people continue to make things like native crafts like baskets, jewelry, parkas, etc. as a way of making income. While craft items are often sold to tourists, sleds are bought, sold and traded within this region to locals who must have this in order to survive the arctic winters. Ralph has been making wooden sleds for several years. Most families here have wooden sleds to haul driftwood for steam baths or chunks of ice for drinking water. People often use wooden sleds as a means of transporting passengers on snow-machines to nearby villages.

Panraven storybook

"Click here to see my Panraven storybook."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Welcome Home Potluck for the National Guard

There was a potluck held at the Dick R. Kiunya Memorial High School for the National Guard troops that came home from Iraq. An elder opened the potluck with a speech followed by a prayer. People brought food to share for the potluck. There was a variety of native food on the tables. Three of the men who were in Iraq attended the potluck. They wore their military uniforms and visited with the people in attendance. It is so good to see the troops reunite with their families. We are so blessed that every one of the troops came home alive and safe. I was glad the community honored them for their courageous actions.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Edible Plants "Negaasget"

For many years the Yup’ik Eskimos have picked various edible plants in southwestern Alaska. Between September and early November people pick “negaasget” commonly called “mouse food’’ from the tundra. It is called mouse food because mice collect these roots and store them for their winter food. It is picked before the tundra freezes. The mouse food comes from roots that grow under the tundra and they’re one to two inches in length. These pictures show mouse food that was picked over the weekend.

Usually people will pick mouse food in large quantities and wash them throughout the entire day. It is cooked with water until it becomes soft and easy to break apart. The excess mouse food is stored in Ziploc bags and then frozen. Ziploc bags are used for storing several types of subsistence food in the village. Mouse food is commonly turned into an Eskimo ice-cream dessert called “akutaq”. There are many ways to enjoy mouse food. Some people will remove it from the freezer and cook it again. It’s used like an extra vegetable when cooking bird or seal soup. Some people will eat it simply by dipping it in seal oil.

Monday, October 29, 2007


This weekend one of the locals caught a walrus. Usually at least one walrus is shot each year. The picture shows a walrus that was cut up on Saturday by several local residents. The person who shot the walrus keeps the ivory tusks. It took several men to haul the walrus from the ocean, to the river, and back to the village. Once the walrus meat was butchered, an announcement was made on the VHF offering to give each family some walrus meat. Sharing is very common in this community. People still live a subsistence lifestyle and there’s always game to freeze before winter arrives.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Weekly Blog

Last night after class I went to a “Women’s Throwing” party. This is the second one I’ve been to since I’ve been back. A local lady had a throwing party next to her yard, but I am not sure for what occasion. I invited some teachers, but none of them came because they were busy working during after school hours. I got there shortly after the lady began her party. I had to bring my gloves because it was cold outside and I was freezing a little bit. The lady stood on top of a tall freezer van. Some of the gifts she threw were cloths, rugs, bowls, clothes-pins, hair accessories for little girls, mini-bottles of hair shampoo, conditioners, lotions, tubberware, Alaska Ulu Knives, yarn, combs, and other plastic containers. This time it was not a huge crowd, probably because of the cold temperature. I enjoyed the fresh air outside and not being locked up in my study room. This was my excitement for the week.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Community of Kongiganak

Hello everyone,
I want to share more information about Kongiganak, since I didn't include enough information when I published my flicker slideshow. Kongiganak has been experiencing a moderate population growth over the last several years. The origin of the village began in 1964 when my grandparents, Charlie and Elizabeth David, along with another family moved to Kong from Kwigillingok. They moved because they wanted to live on higher land. Flooding was a concern in Kwigillingok and that basically forced the moved. Shortly thereafter, the population of Kongiganak started to increase.

Kongiganak is an unincorporated community within an unorganized borough. It is governed by a traditional council. The council owns and operates the washeteria, the village office, the community center and the health clinic. Qemirtalek Coast Corporation was incorporated in 1972 after the Native Claims Settlement Act was passed on December 18, 1971. With 250 people enrolled in the corporation, Qemirtalek was entitled to 115,200 acres of land. Qemirtalek Coast Corporation is managed by five board of directors. Children born after December 18, 1971 don’t receive stock from their corporation.

Currently there are two active religious denominations in Kongiganak. Approximately three quarters of the villagers are Moravian. The church consists of about 250 members. When Kongiganak was first established, community members of around twenty people would gather in tents for church services.The current Moravian church was constructed right after the log cabin school was built in the early 1970’s. The congregation is maintained and operated by the congregation and by selected officers.

The Russian Orthodox Church has a congregation of about fifty members. One of their main annual celebrations is the Russian Christmas (Slaviq). In early January, members of the church take part in activities that are related to the Slaviq celebration. Families donate gifts and they are given to various households. While at the houses, members of the Russian Orthodox Church will sing songs, pass out gifts, pray and eat with members of that particular household. This will continue from one house to another until all of the gifts have been distributed. Generally school starts around January 10th, paying respect to this tradition.

When Kongiganak was first established, about sixty students used the log cabin for their classes. Students were given the option of staying in the village and receiving an 8th grade education, or going on to a boarding school for their high school years. Some students went to boarding schools in Mt. Edgecumbe, Sitka, and Oklahoma.

In 1975 a new school was built. The school was large enough to educate students from kindergarten through the 12th grade. The school was named after a life long school board member, Dick R. Kiunya. The school was built with classrooms on two sides of the hallways. In the middle, temporary partitions were set up and used as classrooms. At the time, a school developer felt the children could learn better if students were in an open area. It’s questionable whether this format actually has improved or impeded the students learning.

Today there are about 120 students enrolled at the school. Many students are active in basketball, cross-country, Native Youth Olympics and student government. Over the last couple of decades, several students have to go to boarding school in Mt. Edgecumbe, Sitka and Nenana. Parents often feel that students in boarding schools are offered more structure, better academic opportunities, more educational role models and a wider variety of extra curricular activities that allows the students to travel.

The people of Kongiganak have been dependent on land, water and the welfare system for their survival. There is plenty of wild game to fill the freezers of residents year round. Many people hunt for caribou, moose, ducks, geese, ptarmigan, seal and walrus. Salmon, white fish, herring and halibut are harvested from the waters.

Berry picking is a main stay in the village. Several people go out on the tundra between the months of July and September to pick blackberries, blueberries, salmonberries, raspberries and red berries. Berries are often used to make akutaq. Hunting, fishing and gathering berries has gone on for years.

Kongiganak is a relatively new village having only been in existence for less than 50 years. My family relatives said they have seen many changes in Kongiganak since its inception in 1964. While the subsistence lifestyle has remained fairly constant, the ways and means of hunting and fishing has changed. More boats, four wheelers and snow machines have given hunters and fisherman an upper hand on gathering meat and fish for their families. The growth in the village also has increase in the number of planes flying into the village. Three small airlines travel to Kongiganak on a regular basis transporting goods and passengers to and from Bethel and the surrounding communities.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kongiganak, Alaska

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Here's my "Sense of Place" project on my home community of Kongiganak, AK. Most of these photos were taken last month in September. Kongiganak is a Yup'ik Eskimo village located on the coast of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, approximately 100 miles southwest of Bethel. The origin of the village began in 1964. The current population today is about 375 people.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Kongiganak New School By 2010

The Dick R. Kiunya Memorial School held a community meeting on October 8 at 7 p.m. LKSD superintendent Bill Ferguson gave a report to the community. Plans are in place for Kongiganak to have a new school building completed by the fall of 2010. In order to build the school, the community will need a letter from the village council allowing the district to have a building built on village corporation land. There was also some discussion about building a 500,000-gallon water tank for the new school.

Once the new school is built, the community would like to use the old school for community office space and community activities. In order for this to happen, the community will have to have funding available to maintain the old school. Excess heat may be available from the community power plant to heat the old school for little or no expense to the community. The current school is built on land that is no longer leased by the school district. Because the lease expired, the building may automatically be handed over to the community.

Some fuel oil was given out as door prizes and the meeting ended after about 45 minutes. If remember correctly, the Kongiganak school was built in the 1960s, so Kongiganak is due for a new school. I am very excited about the new school project.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Week in Fairbanks

Hello everyone,
I have been in Fairbanks with several students for Math 205. It's been a real busy week with assignments due and chapter tests. It's such a relief that it is almost Friday tomorrow and flying back home. I've enjoyed meeting our instructor in person, seeing familiar faces and also shopping and it's nice to buy and see a variety of things in town and have change of scenery.
Happy Fall!

Monday, September 24, 2007

School Improvement Plan by Kendra Krenz

The Dick R. Kiunya Memorial School held their first monthly School Improvement meeting last Thursday. The School Improvement Team is made up of the principal, three teachers and four community members. Our school is required to organize this team because we didn’t make Adequate Yearly Progress last spring.

The principal put together a school improvement plan showing graphs and data on how students did in their assessment tests. We made some improvements in Language Arts and Reading, but our school had difficulty in Math. The district has been given funding to have an extended day for students who haven’t passed the state assessments. Students are required to stay a half hour longer, four days a week. Two days are specifically devoted to Math due to the low testing scores.

A community member will host a family learning and education time once a month at the school. Students can only attend if they have an older relative accompany them to the event. Adults will be engaging in educational activities during that evening.

At the next community meeting, our superintendent will give an update on the possibilities of Kongiganak getting a new school. Community members will be encouraged to attend the meeting and express their feelings on matter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

After School Program by Kendra Krenz

For the past week and a half Dick R. Kiunya Memorial School inKongiganak has been holding an extended day tutoring session for students in grades 4-12 who didn't pass all of the SBA tests given last spring. Students are required to stay an extra 30 minutes after school. The subject matter taught by the teachers includes Reading, Writing and Math. Students are separated by their grade. It is up to the individual teacher to come up with the lessons for the day. In the near future teachers will have access to various tutor programs on the computer. These computer programs can be used for the classrooms.
Attendance at the extended day has been excellent. Generally 85% - 95% of those required to attend, actually come to the tutoring. Thosestudents missing the tutoring have either been sick, out of town orsubsistence hunting. If a student deliberately skips the session, their name will be reported to the principal and he will contact the parents.
The elementary students seem to be enthused about coming for the after school help. Part of the motivation is they receive a snack and sometype of juice towards the end of the session. Another motivation was the school set up a “Student Movie Night” last Friday at the school gym. It was open to all students who attended the after school program for grades 4-12. They also get to be with a teacher from another part of the building that they didn't have that day. I'm assuming most students want to get better in their academic work and that is extra motivation as well.
The junior high and high school students who haven't passed the SBA'sare required to come after school. If they don't show up they will notbe eligible for other extra-curricular activities during the year. TheAdministration is hoping to have funding through April.

During last week’s community meeting, the subsistence activity was addressed. The students are not allowed to miss more than two days of school a semester for subsistence activities. I feel students should be given more than two days, because I think students will have more unexcused absences.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weekly Blog by Kendra Krenz

On Monday I attended another community meeting at the school. The meeting, hosted by our school principal, dealt with several topics that are facing our students. Our principal discussed the results of the SBA tests and the need for after school tutoring. The after school tutoring started on Wednesday and it will run four days a week for students who preformed poorly on the tests. There was a discussion about the dangers of some students playing around and underneath the school after school hours. It was suggested that the VPSO do a better job of patrolling the area. Also the school is looking into fixing the fence that is under the school.

There was a discussion about the subsistence forms that are currently being used in the classrooms. Parents are required to have the student’s homeroom teacher sign off on the sheet before the student goes for their subsistence activities. In the future there may be a change to this procedure. It will be addressed at the next school board meeting. A district-wide policy has been put in place requiring that adults using the gym pay a $20 per hour fee. Exceptions will be made for community feeds, weddings, etc.

A drawing was held for five gallons of gas. Some other surplus food was given to those in attendance. There were about 30 people at the meeting.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Women’s Throwing Party by Kendra Krenz

Last Friday my high school classmate had a women’s throwing party which is called “uqiquq” (ooh-gee-gook) in Yupik. She hosted the party in honor of her foster child who picked his first berries. I wanted to share this event on my weekly blog for those who aren’t familiar with this event. It is one of my favorite village traditional activities. It was the first one I’ve been to since coming back to the village this fall. There are usually several throwing parties throughout the summer. We have two new women teachers, in our village and I invited them to the party as a way of sharing the Yupik culture and getting them involved with the community.

The women’s throwing party is generally held on a day when the wind is blowing and the weather isn’t too cold. Once I remember a woman had her throwing party on a warm sunny day in December. The woman who decides to host the throwing party announces over the VHF an open invitation to women. They are invited to come to the outside of her house. The VHF is the main way that local people communicate in the village. It’s a quick way to let the entire community know when a public event is taking place.

There are several reasons for having a throwing party. Many times subsistence activities are celebrated in this way. Basically anyone can host a throwing party for whatever reason they want. A child finding his or her first eggs on the tundra during egg-hunting season, a young man’s first seal hunt or a special village experience are some of the reasons people will host a party.

Sharing is very common in this community and everyone is well connected to the traditional lifestyle. Women start gathering their throwing party gifts over time, since money is tight. Usually this event is for ladies and elder women only, but little girls and boys always show up. Kids usually take part because they know they will walk away with candy. If you catch something, it is yours to keep. Some women get aggressive when going after items.

Usually the grand prize will be thrown at the beginning. There are variety of gifts the woman will throw in her party such as kitchen utensils, bowls, cups, individual trash-bags, zip-lock bags, tupperware, towels, wash cloth rags, rags, tissue, clothes pins, plastic bucket for berry picking, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, candy, and various household items.

Friday, August 31, 2007

By Kendra Krenz

I attended a school board meeting the other day as part of one of my class project. The meeting was opened with a prayer by an elder who has been a member of the school board for many years. There were some issues brought up I wasn’t aware of. First of all, this year we have three new teachers, two are non-locals and one is local native certified teacher who graduated last spring. We have 136 total students and that number will probably fluctuate in the few weeks.

We continue to have new students coming from other villages as well as Anchorage to attend school here. Possible reasons for that could be student’s parents are separated or are divorced. This is a serious issue for the community, because in the past they didn’t have to deal with it as much. Students are staying with various family members. The school staff has to deal with finding the new student when they need to reach that student and they don’t know which house to contact them. Other community members also feel that some of the new students are bad influences on local students and in the community. They are concerned with new students coming to school here without parent supervision and rely on other relatives to take care of them. The school board members strongly feel a child should be living with the parents while attending school in villages, unless they are going away to a boarding school.

For several years the graduating class in Kongiganak has been very limited. Under our new administrator we had more graduates last year. Students from other villages may have seen the increase in the number of graduates from this village last May and decided it would be an easier way to get a diploma. I don’t believe this is the reason, but that could be the thought process.

There has been a concern amongst the school staff that students are coming tired and fall asleep during class periods. The teachers are instructed to make sure the students are awake during the class periods. Parents should tell their children to go to bed early. Students are also asked not to go home during lunch period because some students don’t return to school or come to class tardy.

The administration and community have been concerned with students playing in dangerous areas near the school. Kids are not supposed to be playing around the school property after school and on weekends. They want this to come to an end in order to prevent an accident. Some student’s are hanging around on the school pump or even climbing on teacher housing fuel tanks. The village police officer should be addressing this issue and parents should be watching their children.

Subsistence was also addressed in the meeting. The subsistence life-style is very much part of this community, where people will always be dependant on land and water. The school uses a subsistence activity form but it’s not required by the district. In the last few years students have failed to completed coursework and have been denied credit for a class because they have spent too much time during the school year doing subsistence activities. Parents have been notified that students missing 20 or more days of school (excused/unexcused) will receive failing grades. The next community meeting will address how many times per quarter students can take an excused absence for subsistence hunting.

The School Improvement Plan for 2007-2008 school year was discussed at the meeting The major goal this year includes helping student succeed. There will an after school program for students who need to improve their reading, writing and math. Students falling behind in coursework will be required to stay an extra 30 minutes for tutoring by a certified teacher in order to help them in their weak areas. If students are doing well, they are not required to after school program.

The school board was in favor of the new improvement plan to keep track of the students progress overall and oversee what it takes for students to continue to succeed.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reflections first week of Class

Reflections for ED 429 Class

I really enjoyed learning everything we covered for this class. I was impressed we can utilize technology tools in so many ways. It was interesting to be able to learn about the Panraven. Panraven is a website you can create an account, upload and share your photos and create a digital story. I was frustrated learning the process at first and I never thought I would be able to create a digital story.

We also learned about the Flickr website. You can create an account with flickr and share pictures and create a slideshow. It was a unique way to share our pictures using flickr and be able to view them as a slideshow on our blog spots. I had fun creating slideshows with flickr.

Overall, we also learned how to create power point using excel. We used inspiration to map out our ideas and create an outline. We had options to make a creative project using these technology tools we learned in class. It was fun to create an IMOVIE as well.

We sure covered a lot of technology tools in a week. I wonder now what our future will be like in technology in the next century.

It was nice meeting everyone in class. Thank you so much Skip for teaching this class to us. I learned a lot!

Home Again

Hello Everyone,
I am home as of this week. I am still waiting to get internet and phone service at home. I have relocated to a different school housing since I've been back, so I am rearranging my new home again.

Hope everyone made it back safely home.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Experiment Flickr slideshow Update

I was able to go back to my Flickr account and edit the pictures to 400 px size. It looked so much better on my blogspot because the size was just right for viewing. Also, I went back to my Flickr account after I noticed the title on each page was not in the size I want. So I edited and pasted the titles on the description of each picture I edited.

Experiment using Flickr Slideshow

I found out using a 500px was too large to view the slide shows on my blog. The first set of pictures(Yellowstone & Tetons park) were just right, I used 400px. Make sure you have the right PX size when you post your pictures.

Top of the World

Trip To Top of The World
Wainwright & Barrow Alaska 4/2006

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Flickr Slide Show Experiment

Here's a slide show of pictures I took in July 2006 at the YellowStone Park and Grand Tetons.
YellowStone & Grand Tetons National Park 2006

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Reflections on Power Point and Inspiration

Reflections on using Power Point and Inspiration

I think using technology tools is an excellent way to enhance teaching students. Using the power point you can teach students how to present topics/projects. Power point has unique features, you can create a slide show. You can create excel spreadsheets using the chart wizard and include animations and sounds, like we did for the 429 class. You can also take screen shots of what you’re presenting and save the picture and drag it to a power point slide show.

The inspiration program has given me ideas how to help students in the future to map out ideas. I find the Inspiration a very useful program to make an outline, and use it for any class projects. I also found the custom animation very unique, and it helps to make a class project creative. With using custom animations you can set the speed, and create a sound using the options menu for example. There are other unique tools that are also added.

I am excited to use these technology tools and help demonstrate them to students and peers.

Monday, August 6, 2007


I'm Kendra Krenz, originally from Kongiganak, AK which is located 90 miles southwest from Bethel Alaska. I am currently working on my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.

I am new to blog and would like your opinions about blog.

Kendra Krenz