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.

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