Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 3:20 PM
DESIGNING A CULTURALLY RELEVANT GEOLOGIC CONTEXT FOR THE NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITY OF ACOMA PUEBLO, NM: INTEGRATING INDIGENOUS CULTURE AND WESTERN SCIENCE
The percentage of Native Americans earning advanced degrees is still less than one percent of the total number of advanced degrees awarded each year. Currently Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education clearly does not connect with the interests, needs, and educational goals of most Native American students. This study presents a perspective on teaching geology to Native American non-scientists, from Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, as a way to increase interest and inform community members as well as current and future students on the local geology of west-central New Mexico. As an education case study example, it provides an example of how to integrate an Acoma Pueblo member’s cultural values and perspective with a Western scientific geologic framework. The information from the geologic framework thereby builds on the traditional knowledge held by the Acoma Pueblo community member. This is a powerful way of acknowledging and supporting the importance of Native knowledge. Such respect and esteem is necessary to avoid cultural conflict and to preclude the oft-aggrandized Western scientific perspective’s superiority. In this case study, both perspectives are equally valid and both impart unique information that requires sensitive synthesization. This case study is not specifically applicable to all Native American groups, however, the bases used for integrating cultural knowledge and western scientific knowledge are applicable to all cultures of the world.