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Oral History of the Skagit River: A Native American Cultures Activity

Through field reports and interviews, students discover how the Skagit River is closely linked to the people in the Skagit River valley.




3–5, 6–8

Activity Type

  • Activities and Games

Through the Skagit River activity (grades 4–8), Scholastic and the Earthwatch Institute offer students the unique chance to “visit” field sites along Washington State’s Skagit River, one of the last, best salmon-fishing rivers in North America. Today salmon populations are declining as a result of over-fishing and loss of habitat. Through field reports, photographs, and interviews, students discover firsthand how the river and the life cycle of the salmon are closely linked to the lives of the people in the Skagit River valley, and especially to Native American tribal beliefs.

With help from Earthwatch research teams, students will:

  • Learn the history of the Skagit River and the Native Americans who have relied upon it for generations
  • Read field reports from the site, including interviews with tribal representatives
  • Get to know two explorers, Dr. Edward Liebow, who’s studied Native American cultures for more than 20 years and doctoral student Sara Breslow, who interviewed Skagit Valley farmers about agricultural policy
  • Be an explorer by researching local Native Americans


Learning Objectives

While participating in the “Skagit River” activity, students will:

  • Read online texts from the field sites and field reports to build comprehension of the process of exploration and to gain an understanding of other cultures
  • Use a variety of technological and informational resources to conduct research about their state's past and present Native American cultures
  • Gather, evaluate and synthesize data from a variety of sources
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Susan Cheyney

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