AMERICAN INDIAN AND TRIBAL GEOSCIENCE PROGRAM: ENSURING THE EVOLUTION AND PRACTICE OF TRIBAL SCIENTISTS AND RESEARCHERS IN THE 21ST CENTURY AND BEYOND
Critical to ensuring the representation and participation of Tribal people in earth systems planning is the role of the navigational mentor. This is one component of a cultural geoscience program in ensuring Tribal students complete with excellence and success their route to research and education. The critical components of a Tribal geoscience program and the role of cultural mentors are board and the opportunity to expand one’s own personal and professional success in science and society is immense.
There remains an imminent need and challenge to increase the representation of underrepresented, especially Tribal, people in geosciences. To address this challenge a navigational geoscience program approach was developed centered on the incorporation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into modern research and education. The approach incorporates defining cultural/personal choices for a geosciences vocation, developing geoscience research with a “purpose”, and refining leadership.
The program model incorporates a mentor’s personal oral histories and experiences in education, research and life. The goal is to ensure the next generation of Tribal scientists and researchers are more highly educated, experienced and leadership orientated by the time they complete Geoscience programs – then by the time they are our age, have our level of education and experience.
The Geoscience Alliance has been instrumental in building a community of Tribal Geoscientists, inspiring Tribally initiated and led research and programs, and strengthening the commitment to the seventh generation and beyond.