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Career Pathways Planning Curriculum

Lesson Plans: Part Two

Elder Review: Marilyn Balluta, Na’Dene Athabascan

Educator and Leader

These highlights will support the participant in thinking about and working with important aspects of transforming difficulties and life experiences into a successful career pathway. The key areas include:

  1. History – where we come from;
  2. Mentors & Opportunities – who and what supports us;
  3. Education, Career, Jobs, and Vocational Skills – what moves us forward.

These highlights are to be utilized to assist the participant in answering and discussing the questions identified with each of the five lessons provided in this curriculum.

Marilyn Balluta

History (where we come from)
  • Na’Dene Athabascan, Gahei clan from Nondalton, Alaska
  • Grew up living on the subsistence cycle
  • Utilized a dog team for travel
  • Didn’t know what a hamburger or French fry was until age 13
Mentors & Opportunities  (who and what supports us)
  • “I consider myself very fortunate that I had my grandma, my dad’s mom, and also on my mom’s side, my other grandma. I was fortunate enough to have them in my life,  all the way through adulthood, all the way through to just a few years ago, less than ten years ago, that they were there. They taught us, they taught me what I needed to know in order to continue on with our tradition.”
  •  “There’s my Aunt Pauline Hobson, for me she was the first person during my time of learning and teaching Dene’ina. She was the first role model to teach Dene’ina because she took it upon herself to teach Dene’ina because she has a teaching background. Her [and her] husband Steve Hobson Jr., they continue to live in Lake Clark, and they continue to speak Dene’ina. So they are huge inspirations to me to continue on.”
  • “I consider myself very fortunate that I had my grandma, my dad’s mom, and also on my mom’s side, my other grandma. I was fortunate enough to have them in my life, all the way through adulthood, all the way through to just a few years ago, less than ten years ago, that they were there. They taught us, they taught me what I needed to know in order to continue on with our traditions, whether it was learning how to cut fish, how to put up fish that was very important to me.” 
Education, Career, Jobs, and Vocational Skills (what moves us forward)
  • “Nothing is going to come to you on a silver platter, what you want, you have to work for.” 
  • “It is important to teach the traditions of living off the land and how we go out and gather our food; this is how we take care of it, and then the coming back and going back to school. Going back to a Western school and taking that experience with you into a classroom, being able to understand what it like to gather your food, and understand the importance of education and where it would take you.” 
  • Today, I am a professor at University of Alaska at Anchorage. So for the first time in UAA history, Dene’ina language is being taught there.”