Iñupiaq Cultural Lessons

Discover Iñupiaq cultural knowledge about the northern lights with vocabulary, stories, and dance.

Inupiaq Elder Mary Ahkivgak smiling.Inupiaq Elder Ronald Brower talking.Inupiaq Elder Fannie Akpik smiling at the camera.

Left to Right: Mary Ahkivgak, Ronald Brower, and Fannie Akpik.

Vocabulary - Elementary Guide - Middle School Guide
Learn Iñupiaq vocabulary for terms used in aurora science. Explore the pronunciation guides online on the Cultural Connections website. Vocabulary flashcards are available in North Slope Iñupiaq or Seward Peninsula Iñupiaq.

Online Cultural Content - Elementary Guide - Middle School Guide
Visit the Cultural Connections website to listen to stories from elders about the northern lights, hear songs songs, and watch a dance shared by Fannie Akpik that welcomes the sun. There is also a response sheet for the Welcome the Sun dance.

Interview Elders in Your Community - Elementary PDF - Middle School PDF
Ask an elder in the community, "Can you tell me about the northern lights?" and listen carefully to what they say. Take notes and share something that surprised you.

Northern Lights Storybook - Activity Instructions - Northern Lights Story Sheets
Learn about the aurora by reading stories from Iñupiaq elders, and write your own northern lights stories. Listen and watch Iñupiaq elders tell these stories at the Cultural Connections website.

The above activities and pictures come from the Geophysical Institute's Cultural Connections kit, which can be checked out here. 


NASA Space Science Education Consortium logo.This project was funded under NASA cooperative agreement NNX16AL65A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.