Nestled in Keku Strait on Kupreanof Island, sits the Tlingit village of Kake. Around 600 people are lucky enough to call this community home. With its inspiring landscape, unique history, and flourishing culture, many of the people who live here have interesting life stories to tell. In late autumn last year, equip with iphones, guiding questions, and a bit of curiosity, six inquisitive students from Kake’s high school set out to explore and share some of those stories.
These students participated in a program coordinated through StoryCorps. StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 that, according to their website, ‘has given more than 100,000 Americans the chance to record interviews about their lives, pass wisdom from one generation to the next, and leave a legacy for the future’. Interview excerpts are shared during weekly National Public Radio broadcasts and on digital platforms.
In Kake, Jordana Grant integrated a StoryCorps curricula into her 11th grade Advanced Composition English Class. Students were taught how to conduct interviews and were shown how to use a smartphone recording application developed by StoryCorps. Six students interviewed elders and community members on a diversity of topics ranging from Tlingit culture to life in the military. As part of this program, these unique oral histories were uploaded to the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, where historians and the general public can access them indefinitely.
If you or your school are interested in replicating a similar project and would like to access the free smartphone application and classroom curricula, please visit www.storycorps.me.