Celebrate: Song, Dance, and Story!


The ECHO Performing Arts Festival has brought together individuals from six different cultures (indigenous and immigrant) to create a mosaic of song, dance and story. Through this learning center, students will learn about traditional instruments and important cultural values from ethnic groups such as the Choctaw, Hawaiian, Iñupiaq, Portuguese, Yup’ik, and Wampanoag. Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of cultures found within the United States.


To download the brochure for the 2010 Performing Arts Festival (photography by Brian Adams), click here.


This learning center is an ECHO partner collaboration. Ethan Petticrew is the author with significant contributions from Annawon Weeden, Robert Rocha, Joe Vinagre, the Bishop Museum Culture Education Hale, the Choctaw Culture Preservation Staff, and the IHC (Barrow) staff. Ethan would personally like to extend a huge qagaasakuq (Unangax word for thank-you) to all of the individuals involved in this learning center. Their cultural knowledge and educational expertise are a tremendous asset to the ECHO partnership.

Enduring Understandings

  • People of all cultures celebrate their values and identity through song, dance, and story.
  • Love of and responsibility toward family and friends are universal values.
  • Despite many changes in the lives of each culture over time, traditional values continue to guide the people today.

Time Required


This curriculum is designed using a "continuous progress curriculum" template. This model is based upon current research in education, and best practice. Student progress is based upon movement through the performance indicators (emerging, developing, proficient, and advanced), which can be found in the assessment sections at the bottom of each topic and page. Students should move through these stages at their own individual rates, depending on learning styles and mastery of concepts. This model makes "seat time" insignificant. However, teachers are encouraged to modify this curriculum and/or the assessment component to fit their unique situations.


Classroom Resources


Computer access

Internet access

Art paper


Power Point (upper level students may want this option for presentations or displays)


World Map

Materials (contemporary or traditional) for constructing an instrument 


Learning Objectives


Students will:

-  Recall traditional instruments belonging to the Choctaw, Hawaiian, Iñupiaq, Portuguese, Yup’ik, and Wampanoag cultures.

-  Identify specific cultures and their traditional locations in the world.

-  Illustrate two instruments, including their construction and usage.

-  Compare and contrast traditional instruments.

-  Research, design, and construct a traditional musical instrument.

-  List values from each of the six cultures represented in the learning center.

-  Classify the listed values into categories.

-  Compare and contrast their own family or cultural values with those from another culture.

-  Research and support values from another culture.