Setting the Stage
Explain for students that life in the remote village of Toksook Bay, Alaska, is challenging due to its isolation, the community's reliance on subsistence hunting and fishing, and extreme Alaska weather. Additionally, tell students that Alaska Natives have lost a foundation of cultural identity due to previous U.S. government policies that were focused on assimilating Native Americans into the dominant white culture.* Even as this loss continues to burden the Yup'ik community, the team sport of basketball has unified this particular community, as well as other communities across the region, giving young people a feeling of pride and belonging and community members a reason to gather together.
Ask students if they have ever experienced a sense of unity or a larger sense of self while participating in a group sport, music group, or team project. If so, ask them to describe this experience. Brainstorm with students and make a list of the causes and effects that led to this experience. What do you think can be gained from working closely with others in a group?