2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 8-3
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


ITO, Emi, Earth Sciences and Limnological Research Center, University of Minnesota, 116 Church Street, SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, DALBOTTEN, Diana, National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota, 2 Third Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414, PELLERIN, Holly, National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics, University of Minnesota, 2 3rd Av SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414, HOWES, Thomas, Fond du Lac Reservation Resource Management Division, 1720 Big Lake Rd, Cloquet, MN 55720, MYRBO, Amy, LacCore/CSDCO, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, 500 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 and CAKICI, Hanife, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, 301 19th Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55455

From our first informal science education program, gidakiimanaaniwigamigcamps started in 2003 with Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, we used a place-based approach, collaboratively designing activities with local middle- and high-school teachers and tribal elders. We held camps on the reservation, looked at seasonal changes on the reservation, and studied other science topics. The students enjoyed coming to the camps and the teachers took the ownership of designing curriculum, but the students were passive participants.

Our next informal education program, manoomin, focused on a highly place-based research project on a topic developed in conjunction with the reservation. We hoped that this place-based focus on a culturally important natural resource, wild rice, will increase student motivation to graduate from high school, attend college and pursue STEM careers. Our scientific research program, overambitious in retrospect, was to investigate the past, present and future condition of wild rice on the reservation. Although we were unable to fully complete the research agenda over the course of the camps at the level we originally conceived, individual interviews by the external evaluator showed that students felt that they were actively involved in an ongoing research program and nearly all reported gaining self-confidence to pursue a career in science, and stated a desired to obtain a college degree. Moreover, the topic of wild rice is so central to the community’s identity that students felt that they were contributing to their community by doing this research. The actual scientific research program has now moved beyond the Manoomin Science Camps and is being conducted through a partnership that developed between researchers at Fond du Lac Resource Management Division (FDLRMD) and University of Minnesota (UMN). The trust that was built between the researchers has also resulted in FDLRMD requesting that UMN start a Professional Master’s Degree Program in Tribal Resource Management.

We are now embarking on a new informal education program, Niizho Bimaadiziwin (Walking in Two Worlds), to further test the idea that a program that involves collaborative partnership among tribal resource managers, local teachers and university researchers is a model that can be adopted easily by other tribes.