Next Year and in Ten Years

 Next year’s conference:

  • Set up a separate e-mail account for GA conference 2011
  • Make contacts with tribal college faculty and presidents.

o   We need better matriculation between tribal colleges and nearby universities

o   23/36 tribal colleges have an environmental science or natural resource program


Question: Do we have an advisory board?

  • If we do have an advisory board, who would we want on it?
  • What type of knowledge do we want?


Ten-year goal: Make sure GA is still around

  • Practical level

o   We need volunteers who will be active

o   We need resources, people, and people time

  • This has to be an organization*

o   How do we sustain ourselves?

o   Do we want to seek sponsorship?

o   *Key point at the next conference

Agency Level

  • Form affiliations with other science centers to synergize efforts rather than compete for students

o   Ex: NCED talks to USGS, National Park Service

o   Most agencies have tribal programs

o   Increase communication between the federal world and the academic world

§  Memo of Understanding

  • Don’t discount non-traditional students. Many of them are very strong, determined students.
  • Possible links:


§  EPA directory of Tribal Champions


  • GA challenge – every GA scientist to tell one elementary or secondary class about their experiences as a geoscientist
    • Put a description of the schools you visited in the GA bio next year


  • Set up afterschool program or job shadow for high school/middle school youth
  • Family Science Night


  • Can open classrooms to have a GA member speak about what a geologist does and why it is important to broaden participation
  • Middle school job shadow with local environmental scientists
  • Family education model

o   Tony – every time he takes his students (tribal community college) into the field he invites 7th and 8th graders to go with them.

§  Result is improved behavior and attention for both groups

  • Family Science Night


  • Student to student word-of-mouth
    • Each GA student member is to talk to one other student about participating in a summer research opportunity.
    • GA should have a central contact list of student members so that anyone with a research opportunity can e-mail one person, who will forward it to the student list.*
      • Each student on the student list can then be asked forward directly to at least one other student. [Note: opportunities that get sent to departments often only make it to a handful of chosen students]
      • *Nievita added this point – I would be happy to be the central student e-mail list point person, if desired, as part of my GA Student Outreach Coordinator duties
    • Each GA student member should arrange to speak with one group in their community about careers in the geosciences and why it is important to have Native geoscientists.
      • Put a description of the schools you visited in your GA bio next year
      • A GA Powerpoint presentation can be put together and made available to students, so that they would only need to add a few personal touches before presenting to community meeting or local middle/high school group*.
      • *Nievita has volunteered to be the point person on this

Institution level

  • The manoomin Project is seen as a very good model for broadening participation
    • Important resource to the community becomes a research project
    • Need to write up how to get started in this type of project and publish it so it can be used as a model for GA members in their own communities
  • Mansel A. Nelson @ Northern Arizona University, program coordinator for Environmental Education Outreach Program (EEOP) is interested in working with students, teachers, and institutions

Organization level

Geoscience Alliance (GA) sponsorships

  • Fund three students to AGU
  • Science Fair awards
    • Certificates
    • Can be made as digital file (Powerpoint?) that GA members can print out and present locally
    • GA members should look for opportunities within their own communities to give this special certificate award to Native American students with the best Earth science project.
    • Certificate, invitation to join GA and ?
    • Nievita Bueno Watts will look into how to sponsor a SACNAS award
    • Diana Dalbotten will look into what we can give attendees
    • GA members in attendance @ SACNAS can decide who to present the award to.
  • AGU and other conferences
    • Should we try to present certificates at other conferences?

Possible responses

  • Using voice of organizations such as Geo-Science Alliance—becoming the “squeaky wheel”
  • Legal: establishing law and policy
  • Actions by Geoscience Alliance
  • AGI
  • become partners/members of AGU, GSA
  • Create a native professional society
  • AISES- trying to create a professional side
  • AISES is a good model
  • Broaden our networks
  • Need to get more folks from NSF, NASA next year
  • Tread carefully- educate funding agencies on what is appropriate in native culture
  • How do we get NSF/funding agencies to care with respect to where the team is from
  • Have a panel from the funding agencies and ask them how we can help them broaden participation
  • Who sits “at the table” presently?  Is there only one table for NIH, NSF, etc?
  • The answer may be in unification of tribal people and the return to native or tribal specific values, customs, language, and social/educational structure
  • Act on your passions
  • Need to build knowledge and make friends
  • Should the Geoscience Alliance become active in politics?
    • Issue by issue concern
    • Focus on education
    • Too political to decide
    • Clarify
    • Yes, we need to be advocates for issues important to Native interests and the whole human race
    • Foster an environment whereby people are emboldened to speak up
    • Consensus
    • Get to know who represent and speak for you/your community/your people
    • Need to ask questions/think outside the box
    • Do we need to lobby/influence/need to vote!
    • Need native scientists
    • We shouldn’t worry about consensus, but rather encourage participation and sharing of facts and information leading to individual action
  • Problem: what if becoming a “leader” brings you far from home or distances you from your culture? How do you maintain your identity?
  • The question of “how to define success” is relevant. It is money? power? Fame? Or family and community?
  • Potential leaders must have a dream-a vision- an idea of what they want to accomplish. Be convinced that what you do is meaningful and valuable even if some in scientific community disagree.
  • Students:
    • Grow students to become our scientists
    • Make native students visible as persons- their cultures, their life stories, their specific needs- look for established track record not the path used to get there
    • Encourage and support the young students with leadership/job shadowing/ science camps
    • Fund the whole context of the student’s life (sitting services, family support, transportation)
    • Pay for school, living, funding for research
    • For students: arrange campus visits, money for books, transportation, help with forms and paperwork, support groups
    • Have incentive programs for geoscience students like there are for education and teachers
    • Funding and programs are definitely important. Also mentorship/role models
    • Networking is key for students
    • Personal relationship vs institutional relationships
  • Grad, Post-grad and Faculty:

–          Get on NSF panels

  • Academic politics
  • Network of support for writing grants (at small colleges)
  • Peer review journals to disseminate work
  • Have mentors available for tenure process
  • How to increase Native American professional leadership in academia? Start Early! Leaders of all types are prepared from youth: K-12 schools, ensure that such leaders retain knowledge and love for culture from which they started. Stay involved!! Keep the ties to home and community strong
  • Professional leadership often requires a level of self-promotion that many conflict with Native world views?
  • Often, Academia requires one to be self-interested if not selfish: how can this co-exist with community-based, mutually supportive native ways of learning and growing?
  • Increase visibility of native educational institutions in geosciences community?
  • Advocate for TCs, for native languages, for culturally relevant education
  • Advocate for enhanced educational opportunities for Native Americans in geosciences and related fields.

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?