Main Issues

  • Who funds research? Who makes decisions?
  • From a political standpoint…What is diversity?  How does NSF look at diversity?
  • What does “political” mean? What are politics?
  • Why be politically active?
  • Climate change?  Political future?
  • Growing sense of urgency to become involved with climate change issues
  • We need Native people at the table
  • Native worldviews have been historically suppressed. Native participation in science is inherently political.
  • Broadening Native participation of Native Americans because geosciences is part of what influences policy making.
  • If a large segment of Native Americaqns becomes more involved in creating certain kinds of policy (environment, education, economics) there WILL be major changes!
  • Having political voice can shape educational policy
  • Tribal individuals are often dismissed when approaching authorities- need to be educated (credentialed) in order to be heard
  • Once the populous is educated: how do we move into leadership?
  • We need to be heard when it’s time to put things to a vote
  • Sovereign nations, how can this help our political voices?
  • Political agendas influence funding: policies-politics
  • How to handle research in native communities so that community retains its voice as opposed to being used (mined) for its resources
  • Do the goals of the projects mesh with the goals/strategic plan of the community
  • Effectiveness of programs to communities
  • Communities can’t get up and move
  • How do we protect native knowledge and meet funding parameters?
  • Need members who can speak knowledgably
  • Scientific literacy
  • Need critical mass
  • RESPECT bill: proper consultation before action, currently the bill is stalled
  • How native communities have addressed leadership issues in other fields?:
    • Medical field
    • Education
    • INMED, INOSYCH…programs like this….professional societies?
    • Can we get a geosciences equivalent to HIS scholarships?
    • Pay native students to study geosciences, then require them to work for tribes/communities: Hydrology? Air quality? Land use? Reclamation?

Ideas for Best Practices in Evaluation

It’s partly how you construct the program:

  • Bottom-up perspective — allow flexibility into the programs so that they can support the students
  • Build programs that incorporate heterogeneity of perspectives (differing tribes)
  • Environment: instructor is facilitator, students active, involved, lead discussions
  • For “away” programs- allow time for students to go home and then return (10 week programs)
  • Support hands-on experiences
  • Take native students on field trips
  • Involve other students “on the margin” to broaden participation
  • Lessons learned– students came in from “academic department” rather than recruited by native program
  • Some issues can be resolved by having participation from local evaluators on projects.
  • Division by age is counterproductive

But also how you construct the evaluation

  • Use evaluation to build up not tear down
  • We need more data, but be careful with cause and effect
  • Design evaluation to meet community?
  • Benefit to the community
  • Evaluators need to be part of the team from the beginning of the project-formative
  • Evaluation is made easier or more effective with a long-term relationship between teachers and students. Teachers should be with class for more than a single semester. Perhaps more than one year? How could this be done?
  • Establish a relationship with the audience you are working with- have a conversation
  • Go to audience you want to learn from
  • Growing our own evaluators
  • Talk to community first, then design evaluation protocol and report back to community
  • Time spent developing partnerships pays off
  • Top-down or devise own metrics
  • Try to identify tools that work at the tribal level, or even smaller groups
  • Use as a way to inform future iterations of the program
  • Use language to define the role.

Related to Surveys:

  • Allow open ended responses
  • But Native students must live in the world of standardized tests, so they must be prepared to take those types of tests as well.
  • “Adaptive Assesment”  (Adaptive tests present different questions to different test takers, depending upon how well they have answered earlier questions on the test. Someone who has answered poorly on earlier questions will be switched to easier questions for a period, while someone who has answered well on earlier questions will be presented with more challenging questions. Adaptive testing allows the assessment of knowledge, achievement and ability with fewer questions than traditional testing for all but the very poorest-performing test takers. However, the development of adaptive assessments is a complex task  http://www.ehow.com/how_7518054_create-adaptive-assessment-tests.html)
  • Debriefing/follow-up meetings to discuss survey findings
  • Don’t try to create “Pan-Native” assessments: that’s standards all over again. Cultures and tribes differ greatly
  • Have a local evaluator to do the survey/interviews (would save $)
  • Have an external evaluator as a consultant
  • How an elder might do it: tell a student something, then ask student to explain it back.
  • How to ask the right questions
  • Look to your family for examples. How was/is Traditional Knowledge passed down by elders?
  • Most appropriate to do it formatively- throughout a course or program not just one big summative test at the end. Use oral means of assessing
  • Natives- always evolving- outcomes not set in stone
  • Poorly designed surveys can be problematic
  • Standards-based evaluation/assessment: not appropriate for all students? Not just inappropriate for native students?
  • Watch for creating own bias
  • Will the survey have any impact?
  • Working with the tribe/building trust
  • Can have two types of responses:
    • Automatic response
    • In-depth response

Metrics:

  • Are they doing science for their own tribe?
  • How is success defined?
  • Measure attitudinal/value changes
  • Need to address the difference in the ideas of success among tribal people.  What counts as success (i.e. publications, tenure, etc) is maybe not the direction or need of Native communities.  More important may be cultural and linguistic achievements.
  • There are different ways of expressing knowledge
  • Cultural Identity
  • Disconnect between different sets of standards (if success= standards based)
  • How do we define success? Define effectiveness?
  • How do we make evaluation to capture community building?
  • How is traditional knowledge evaluated? It is a continuous process.
  • Is education accessible to students?
  • Number of people who return to their community after their post-secondary education (or doing work based on their community?) (or other indigenous communities?)
  • Persistence of Students
  • Prove Success of program
  • Ways of student perception of what is going on
  • Good standard—measure persistence rather than # of students in degree program
  • Strategic plans: Look at community and university strategic plans and match metrics to that
  • To be Native Friendly, get the cultural references straight: Must be accurate and appropriate to the specific culture in which the lesson or assessment is done. How can non-native educators learn this? Requires time and maybe retreats?
  • What are the goals, and have you met the goals?
  • Goal encourage NDN students into geosciences

Problems and needs

  • Western science- disrespectful of local native communities
  • Need more program directors/project evaluators @ NSF
  • Educating NSF/DOD etc
  • Build in time in project to build community
  • Create culturally responsive evaluation
  • Funding
  • How do we conduct evaluation in a big project? One that we were thrown in at the last minute
  • NDN populations (<1.5%) fall into “margin of error”
  • Need to get publications in Native friendly methodologies
  • Start a journal
  • Problem of undergrads not learning basic knowledge- must spend time remediating
  • Multi-age education

Resources:

  • Indigenous evaluation: New Zealand is a good model
  • LCO-Purdue-GLITWC NAU-EEOP
  • EPA 2010 conference
  • Northwestern Menominee American Indian Center

Native-Friendly Evaluation – what is it?

  • Declaration of Indigenous Rights- look at core issues
  • http://issuu.com/karinzylsaw/docs/un_declaration_rights_indigenous_peoples?mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Fdark%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true
  • Why is it important?
  • What value do native students find in Native-friendly /culturally based knowledge and assessments
  • Are we talking about program evaluation or individual (student) assessment? (Yes, both)
  • What is program evaluation?
  • Can hurt- if unsuccessful
  • Evaluation versus assessment?- similarities/differences?
  •  What are some successful programs?  Where can we share this information?
    • AEA=Indigenous evaluation (American Evaluation Association, had an upcoming conference with sessions on indigenous evaluation — http://www.eval.org/ )
  • How will the data by used and by whom, be careful to have elder input and cultural committee approval
  • Academic setting: Some tribal schools have specific cultural requirements
  • Provide risk/benefit info- i.e., how survey data will be used
  • Need to get “Investment” in the project from the beginning
  • Shared ownership
  • Short term process vs. deliverables

Do Native students view the entrance into STEM careers as conflicting with their belief systems, traditional teachings, or community practices and if so, what is the best way to educate/promote STEM while recognizing and supporting these beliefs.

  • Yes, there is conflict…
  • Going to school has established my credibility to protect our areas.
  • In order to be able to achieve something you need your credentials.
    • You need to know the other side. Then you become the bridge.
  • But it’s hard. You live here your whole life and someone from New York comes over and tells you how to grow your rice…
  • I was an ACES student. You go to work, flip the switch, and go into work mode.
    • Geology is about the worst. You are dealing with a graying workforce and you stick out.
  • Yeah, you can get a degree in electrical engineering, but who is going to hire you? That’s why they call it the golden handcuff. Should you work first or go back to your tribe right away?
  • Those that broke out and survived should find a way to give back to the community. Use technology. It gives them the ability to contact others for the support they need.
  • There is a downside to being educated on the reservation.
    • What are you leaving, what are you taking with you?
    • You have to be able to blend in well and be rooted at home.
  • I come home to get regenerated.
  • Tenure rates for Native faculty are not good because they have spent time in the community doing work.
  • Students don’t see many Native professors now. If they don’t get tenure, what do the students think?
  • Is there something we can do to give Native Science street cred?
  • I am currently teaching Native students science courses. Sometimes we have debates within the school of how much culture we can infuse. Biology and Chemistry worked on the res. Some students got very interested, but we need more role models.
  • What opportunities are available? We need to work very hard to create those opportunities.
    • On the community side, we need to have jobs for them to come home to.
    • We have the problem of students not wanting to go away.
  • Reality is that they all have ipods and smart phones.
    • I don’t think we lose culture when we do this.
  • There are programs that are good at building pathways and bridges.
    • GEM scholars at Purdue – they start vey young
    • We need a direct pathway to college and back to the reservation
    • MS-PhD
    • McNair
    • SACNAS
  • Science and traditional ways are really connected. My father published stories. He published stories so the knowledge would be preserved for the young. I helped him interpret some of those teachings. A lot of Native people give thanks for clean water, clean air, things they can learn. Knowledge has to be retrieved.
    • This is science.
    • Science is good.

Issues related to sharing traditional knowledge vs knowledge protection

  • It comes down to credibility – protecting cultural sites.
    • Grandmother said – don’t put pen to paper, you can’t trust people
  • Native people have developed a spatial analysis with land and culture. We need to establish a way to protect that.
  • We don’t want to write our knowledge into a database because it can be stolen
  • Potential solution: What if you identify people who hold the knowledge and share that?
  • At  USGS, when we are out working with someone from a tribe, if the tribe doesn’t want it known we don’t write it down, because if we write it down we are obligated to publish it.
  • I am a biologist working for a tribe. Working with the tribe is fantastic. We have shared values. Through federal agencies there is a lot of money available if tribes are a partner.
    • Scientists and tribal people can accomplish a lot if they work together
  • The use of traditional Cultural Property is under federal protection. There are specific ways of documenting it to conserve the landscape
  • I wouldn’t worry about them acquiring our knowledge so much. If you want to learn something, it takes a mentor and it takes a long time. It has value.
    • I don’t think Western Science sees it that way.
    • Western Science doesn’t see a worldview, connections, continuity. They are missing so much in not opening their minds.

Thoughts on blending traditional knowledge and mainstream math and science academics and careers

  • To get a peer reviewed paper out you have to throw away the interesting things
  • We don’t have a way to communicate our knowledge. There is no venue for that
  • It is hard to quantify traditional knowledge and put into Western terms
  • Lack of respect for traditional knowledge:  i.e., depression study – asked elders cause of their depression – they said “No Moose” – moose repopulation program started – decrease in depression rates – but this wasn’t allowed as a dissertation topic
  • A body of science literature is not necessary – does it work or not? (they spent $100,000’s to figure out wild rice fluctuates. Any old man can tell you that.)
  • Western science doesn’t respect our own ability to observe
  • International Global Climate Change only accepts data from peer reviewed journal articles – they don’t accept Native knowledge
  • I am working with a local tribe and would like to talk to them about traditional names for landmarks which have not been named on official maps on BLM lands. The tribe seems open to it, but my advisor says the only thing that is important is the science. Yet he is able to write on his grant that he is working with a Native student and with a local tribe.
  • I work with Leech Lake tribal archaeology. I found wild rice in pots that was able to be dated. It is 3000 years old.

o   I don’t think science and traditional knowledge are enemies. Most scientists I work with are interested in traditional knowledge.

  • Science is a good partner. If we have a future, it is there in the past.
  • There are published accounts where Native Knowledge is discounted until published in a Western journal. We (academics) will grab a paper off the internet and cite the person as being an expert, but won’t count the Native American who has been there and made the observation.
  • There is an assumption that math and science didn’t exist before the White man came. They haven’t changed that opinion, we know better.
  • In the past Western Science was “done to” Natives. That is where the resistance comes from.
    • Who is driving the science?
    • In participatory programs, where is the benefit to the people?
    • There are negative and positive aspects. 9.9 out of 10 times nothing ever comes back from the study.
    • How do you establish a value you can quantify?
  • Education is a problem for scientists. There are differences in approach.
  • In Western Science a hot topic is biomimicry — maybe other species have solved this problem. Emulation has been going on in Native Science for ages.
    • People who came up with the kayaks did it some way.
  • In our academic world how do we come to some way of recognizing these results that don’t fit the scientific method? How do you make that mesh?
  • How was your response in naming the landforms?
    • Give a presentation to the elders. And schoolchildren.
  • We must work together for the benefit of the land.
  • Ecologists are very much interested in this.
  • The way I was taught was by living it every day.
  • Most archaeologists prefer to work with places that have established protocols.
    • Wild rice was established by both Euro-Americans and Native Americans and has been used here for a long time. What can we do to promote its use again?

Talking about Native Science and Traditional Knowledge

  • Defining Native science – what is it? Is it an overall term? Is there enough overlap between knowledge of different communities?
  • How do you collect the knowledge at a landscape level?
    • Take wild rice for example. If you ask people in the tribe:
    • Some people say it is variable from season to season
  • Some people say it is declining over time
  • Stories are at a smaller scale
    • Should Native Science be approached from a local or global epistemology?
    • Get students to focus on local problems to see global ones.

Facilitating Research in Native Communities

  • Focus should be on benefiting the community.
  • More people should be involved because every is affected, not just indigenous people
  • More input from other people and other tribes
  • Incorporation of tribal knowledge into the school systems
  • Global things that affect local areas:  global warming/invasive species
  • Some scientists do research on tribal land and do not give the results to the tribe
  • Involve elders that have knowledge in things we encounter in our work
  • More involvement from the tribes point of view
  • Be proactive—use academic advisors to involve students
  • Help broaden understanding of the importance of including Native students
  • Build place-based opportunities
  • Students:  don’t let others reduce you
  • Native students are our next generation of environmental leaders
  • Protect your natural resources – be a shield for your place
  • Manage landbases
  • Humility is important, science can learn from everyone whether they have a degree or not
  • Issues researchers could address relevant to Native Communities:
    • South Dakota has many – water quality, agriculture, mining
    • Michigan – Dow Chemicals, Emerald Ash Borer, Air Quality
    • Oklahoma – Wind Farm (problem:  Kills eagles, hawks, and other birds); past ecological damage (i.e., spraying chemicals in 1950s)
    • Arizona – Uranium mining issues

Factors that would support greater participation

  • Start Early:
    • Early start in elementary education
    • Grow our students—hands-on experiences, summer and other informal learning experiences
    • Increased participation of Native students in science fairs; Native science fairs
    • AISES chapters in high schools and middle schools can help students learn to like and understand science
    • Invest in better schools, programs, and teachers
    • Promote students with potential
    • Encourage traditional ecological knowledge
    • Incorporate Elders
    • More school programs and after-school programs
    • Encourage volunteerism
    • Buy in to the importance of environmental science
    • Summer programs
    • One-on-one outreach to students
    • Explain to students why they are well suited to this field
    • Explain to Native students why their background makes them natural geoscientists
    • Better communication about the geosciences
    • Explain how geosciences can help their community
    • Challenge students:  Here is the problem; here is how you can work on it
    • Math:  visual learning, but important not to separate out some students; make math relevant to Native students (use real-life examples, i.e.—basket weaving, beading
    • Teach math in context, applied math
    • Professional development for teachers
    • Break stereotypes of learners
  • Relevance:
    • Show relevance of the careers (how can I use this?)
    • What benefits can the student find in this study to their lives?
    • Show how the education is connected to protection and sustainable management of resources (Intro to Sustainable Development class) Make math relevant to something besides “just math”
    • Create more volunteer opportunities in the sciences in the community
    • Educate everyone in the community
    • Incorporate tradition
    • Be open and honest
    • Need to inspire students
    • Incorporate an experiential component
    • Presentation of issues regarding natural resources as impacting future generations
    • Need to recognize that Native students are diverse by geography and level of preparation
    • Climate change issues are urgent and students want to do something about these issues
    • Science needs to be presented as interesting, not a dead-end job, good career mobility
    • Travel—chance to learn and experience other cultures
    • Lab work/field trips excite students
    • Allow students to work in two paths (Native and mainstream science)  — is this getting better?  You see some who are blending both
  • Role Models:
    • Get graduate-school-level Native American teachers to teach at tribal colleges or tribal schools (role models)
    • Draw on local expertise
    • Find mentors for kids
    • Peer-mentoring
    • Conversation before leaving safe place
  • Support at the College level
    • Distance Learning
    • Do a better job of advertising opportunities and exploring careers
    • Need to have a place online to house all the opportunities, resources, and scholarships related to geosciences
      • agiweb.org
      • Serc.carleton.edu
      • Indigenousmapping.net
      • Geoscience Alliance website – what are the possibilities?
    • Get students connected on campus
    • Better advising so students aren’t told the wrong thing, which can make their academic programs longer and more expensive
    • Student service learning: students play a role in going back to their tribes to publicize their experiences, opportunities for other students, peer mentoring
    • Good mentors; family atmosphere
    • Need more job opportunities
  • Place-based Education (at all levels, K-12 and beyond)
    • When teaching Native students, place is foremost/fundamental
    • Don’t limit “place” (i.e., to the reservation)  Think where Native peoples are now and where they have been in the past, connect to history
    • Look at other successful models
    • Find ways to help students make a connection to their place
      • Encourage them to look
      • Connect students to science and scientists on their reservation
      • DNR/resource management on reservation
    • Close textbook and go out into the community to find your problems and issues, and your answers
    • Greater relevance for students
    • Hands-on – students find this important and valuable
    • Field studies don’t show the “ideal” situation that is often in textbooks, but teach the full complexity
    • A return to the old way is important to many—so we need to have teaching support for Native concerns  (example:  GEMscholars learned the Native community approach and knowledge about plants, a two-way exchange of knowledge
  • Good programs:
    • Wells Technology—example of a successful business in Bemidji, MN. Give tours to students, apprenticeships.
    • NSF Math and Science Partnerships
    • GEAR UP
    • Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Factors that Impede Participation

  • Racism:
    • Sub-oppression
    • Oppression
    • economic disparities
    • misuse of federal dollars,
    • cultural leaders being ignored
  • Resources:
    • Money
    • Getting help (financial and other) that is available at the global level accessible at the local level (for example, knowing what is out there; knowing how to bring resources to the local community)
    • Lack of Role Models
    • Lack of exposure to STEM during K-12 years
    • Lack of infrastructural support:  Child care, jobs
  • Academic Issues:
    • Students don’t know how to apply to academic programs.
    • Lack of access to computers or not understanding how to apply on line keeps students out of academic programs and internships
    • Paperwork of application process is intimidating
    • Don’t understand what a bio is
    • Application processes are often too expensive
    • Students don’t understand financial aid process
    • Students are intimidated by the essay that is often required on applications
    • Don’t know about scholarships
    • Criteria keep students out:  GPA, Tribal membership
    • Lack of excellent geoscience teachers/instructors in the local community.
    • Lack of recognition of students as a potential source of STEM students
    • Mathematics aren’t taught in a way that works for native students (more beneficial when taught visually or hands-on)
    • Mathematics are taught too abstractly; more applications would help
    • Math example:  school failing 50% of students in Math
    • Math is a gatekeeping class
    • Problem:  Math by mathematicians
    • Teaching styles vs Native learning styles
    • Fragmented curriculum, scheduling, and standards
    • Lack of individualized instruction:  all people are taught in the same way but some people have different learning styles
    • Students aren’t academically ready for college when they come out of high school.
    • Science classes are boring—they could be made more interesting if they were more relevant to the students (good example of relevance is sustainability program at College of Menominee Nation)
    • Students aren’t aware of possibilities and opportunities
    • Lack of confidence in quantitative science
    • Fragmentation of curriculum and lack of connection between disciplines (due to testing requirements)
    • Middle school doesn’t have earth science (or not enough)
    • Students’ stereotypes of math and science:  they are not smart enough; have to be super-intelligent to go into a science field; these careers are dry and boring, no creative side, need to break these myths
  • Difficulties if students need to move:
    • Children who need care
    • Don’t feel comfortable in the city
    • Difficulty in transferring from tribal college to other institution
    • Hard to be away from home
    • Hard to find a place that feels comfortable
    • Knowing that there are other Native students where you are going is important
    • AISES group is really helpful
    • Sometimes leaving the community for education is not an option because of ceremonial reasons
    • It’s hard to participate in internships if you have a family
    • Length of time of internships can also be a problem—it would help if sometimes you could split up the internship into shorter blocks of time or allow students to return home for ceremonies


Attitudes within Native community about science

  • There is the (false) notion that what you are learning has nothing to do with your people (this is not specific to Native American students)
  • Lack of connection to the tribe
  • Students don’t have an idea what comes after college—what will they do with a geoscience degree?
  • Lack of community support
  • Education may be viewed as assimilation into white culture
  • Students struggle to get a degree and then it may be hard to come back into the community
  • Conflicting messages about what education means
  • Pushback from elders/parents
  • Challenge:  feeling used; guilt of leaving family