Mountain School at Home ACHOTUS Ep1: Indigenous Presence

Mountain School instructors Jillian RossImara White, Alexa Brandt, and Kari Paustian bring you this wonderful reinvention of a traditional Mountain School activity that goes by the acronym “ACHOTUS” (which stands for A Cultural History of the Upper Skagit). As students imagine traveling back in time, they are introduced to historical figures with special relevance to this area. By doing this, we hope students will gain a fuller understanding of human interaction with this landscape. It’s important to recognize the variety of ways people connect to a place like the Upper Skagit in order to remember that there are other perspectives.

 ACHOTUS Episode 1: Indigenous Presence

Journey back through TEN THOUSAND YEARS of history with time traveler Alexa to learn about a distant time when the Swinomish, Sauk-Suiattle, Upper Skagit, Nlaka’pamux, and other indigenous communities were already practicing their traditional lifeways in the North Cascades.

After you’ve watched the video, be sure to check out Alexa’s glossary and recommended resources below, for even more insights and learning.


Resources to learn more about Indigenous presence from the Skagit Valley to the Salish Sea:

Glossary of Terms:

  • Tribal sovereignty: The right of Native peoples to govern themselves, to make their own laws and practice their traditional lifeways
  • Treaty: A formal agreement between two countries or sovereign states
  • Stewardship: Careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care (in this case, the land and its resources)
  • Displacement: The forced removal of Native people from their homelands by Euro-American colonizers and settlers
  • Erasure: The process of discounting and eliminating the current and historical presence of indigenous people, their lifeways, language and culture
  • Time Immemorial: The very distant past – longer than humans have been able to record time and historical eras, longer than what human memory allows
  • Lifeways: The traditional ways tribal people have lived since time immemorial
  • Homelands: Tribal regions that predate Indian reservations


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