Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM


KELSO, Paul1, BROWN, Lewis M.1, SPENCER, Matthew K.1, SABATINE, Stephanie2 and BOUSCHOR, Robin1, (1)Department of Geology and Physics, Lake Superior State University, 650 W. Easterday Ave, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783, (2)Native American Center, Lake Superior State University, 650 W. Easterday Ave, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783,

The GRANITE program (Geological Reasoning And Natives Investigation The Earth) was developed at Lake Superior State University to provide an opportunity for Native American high school students to participate in geoscience activities. The GRANITE program was designed to help overcome some of the perceived barrier to the participation of minorities, particularly Native Americans, in the geosciences. The GRANITE program included activities and/or discussion on geological issues of concern to Native American communities such as water resources and quality, hydrocarbon and mineral resources, climate change and human impact on the environment. Students met and worked with Native American experts in many localities as they learned how geoscience knowledge impacted Native American lives and they also shared traditional explanations for many observed geologic features. GRANITE students were able to see how geoscience concepts are applied to solve problems and answer questions in individual communities and how geoscience is an important part of the traditions of many Native communities.

GRANITE students participated in a two- week summer geoscience field trip from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, where students camped, hiked and spent time interacting with the natural world around them. The connection of communities and individuals to the land is a common thread with many Native mentors and Native communities that students visited and provided a natural tie among students, Native communities and the geosciences. GRANITE also detailed the career opportunities for geoscientists through a variety of project activities and student discussions relevant to local reservations and within local communities. Student participation provided the opportunity for them to experience success doing geoscience and gave them the confidence necessary to aspire to be a geoscientist. The GRANITE program helped ignite an interest in geoscience among participating students by demonstrating the relevance of geoscience to Native communities and the program provided the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate students’ college success. Each year after the GRANITE field trip, high school students enrolled in a college geoscience course and competed successfully with college students.