Alaska Sea Grant in the News


Tlingit Moon and Tide wins 1999 American Book Award

Date: March 7, 2000
Contact: Dolly Garza, Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, (907) 247-4978

FAIRBANKS, Alaska—The twice-a-day rise and fall of the ocean we know as the tide has for thousands of years been a fundamental part of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Indian culture of Southeast Alaska. Tides were so important that legends were created to explain their existence.

Although details vary, all three Indian cultures credit the mythical Raven for tricking an old woman who controlled the tides into making sure the tide came in and went out twice each day. The trickery was necessary to make sure the beaches were exposed long enough for people to gather clams, fish, kelp, and other food from the beach.

Tlingit Moon and Tide Teaching Resource: Elementary Level is a new curriculum book that celebrates these legends and teaches students about the importance of the lunar and tidal cycles. Author Dolly Garza, a Haida/Tlingit Indian in Ketchikan, Alaska, and professor of fisheries at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, recently received the Sister Goodwin 1999 American Book Award, presented by the Before Columbus Foundation. Garza is the award's first recipient.

The Sister Goodwin Award was established in 1998 in honor of Sister Goodwin (Elizabeth Hope), an Inupiaq educator and writer who died in 1997. The award is part of the annual American Book Awards established in 1978 by the Before Columbus Foundation of Oakland, California. The purpose of the award is to promote American multicultural literature. The award was presented to Garza on January 30 at a ceremony in Anchorage held in conjunction with the Alaska Native Educators conference.

Published by the University of Alaska Sea Grant Program in Fairbanks, Tlingit Moon and Tide combines Native knowledge of the natural world with modern scientific inquiry. Through lessons and activities, students explore Native knowledge of the moon and tides with art and stories, and they learn scientific principles such as how to measure the passage of time and relate lunar and tidal cycles. Students also learn how to catalog and describe the flora and fauna that live within the tide zone.

The book is part of the National Science Foundation's Rural Systemic Initiative implemented by the Alaska Native Knowledge Network at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The Rural Systemic Initiative's goal is to address the education needs of Alaska Natives.

For more information about Tlingit Moon and Tide Teaching Resource: Elementary Level, go to this web site:

For more about the author, visit her faculty profile.

For more information about the Before Columbus Foundation, go to this web site:

The Alaska Sea Grant College Program is a marine research, education and outreach service headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Sea Grant is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with the state of Alaska and private industry.

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