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Tips on Teaching Native Americans

This page was written by Erin Klauk as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education.

Anna Aloysious of Cove, Arizona. Details

Despite the fact that most Native cultures have a deep cultural bond with Earth and awareness of its processes, Earth science expertise in Native communities is low, according to Riggs and Semken ([Riggs and Semken, 2001] ). Native Americans as an under-represented group are of particular concern for Earth and environmental science educators because of the large land base managed by tribal authorities coupled with the simultaneous lack of professional scientific expertise within reservation communities themselves ([Riggs and Marsh, 1998] ) ([Riggs and Semken, 2001] ). Finding ways to raise the expertise of Native Americans in the Earth sciences will result in more scientific and intellectual diversity for the geoscience community, as well as security and scientific autonomy for the Native peoples of North America ([Riggs and Semken, 2001] ).

The Digital Library of Indigenous Science Resources (DLISR) (more info) is a library collection of online text, video, audio, and image files of Indigenous science. Included are both knowledge about the natural world and ways of teaching and learning about it.


Pearl Nakai of Red Valley, Arizona. Details

Investigate Geoscience Education Among Indigenous Peoples

Resources related to geoscience education among indigenous peoples.

  • Issues of Culturally Responsive Educational Evaluation Pertaining to Native Americans. This 109-page PDF document provided a detailed account from a two-day workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation Directorate for Education and Human Resources. The workshop’s purpose was to discuss issues of culturally responsive educational evaluation as they pertain to Native Americans. The three major themes of the workshop were evaluation issues relating to the academic achievement of Native American students, education/training opportunities for Native American evaluators, and developing, maintaining and expanding a network of Native American evaluators. The goal of this workshop was to offer direction for future planning of evaluations and research activities, and to focus on capacity building within the field of educational evaluation. Appendices include the workshop agenda, a list of participants and participant biographies. (more info)
  • Hands-On Geology for Navajo Nation Teachers. [Dubiel, Hasiotis and Semken, 1997] This article in the Journal of Geoscience Education provides information about teaching hands-on geology to students of the Navajo Nation. (citation and description)
  • The Indigenous Earth Sciences Project: Exploring the Synthesis of Southern California Native American Traditional Knowledge and the Earth Sciences. [Riggs and Marsh, 1998] This article from GSA Today provides information about exploring the synthesis of southern California Native American traditional knowledge and the Earth sciences. (citation and description)
  • Cross-Cultural Education of Geoscience Professionals: The Conferences of the Indigenous Earth Sciences Project. [Riggs and Riggs, 2003] This article in the Journal of Geoscience Education provides information about cross-cultural education of geoscience professionals. (Full Text Online)
  • Culture and Science: Earth Science Education for Native Americans. [Riggs and Semken, 2001] This article in Geotimes provides information on earth science education for Native Americans. (Full Text Online)
  • Field-Based Education and Indigenous Knowledge: Essential Components of Geoscience Education for Native American Communities. [Riggs, 2005] This Science Education article provides information on field-based education and indigenous knowledge, concentrating on essential components of geoscience education for Native American communities. (Full Text Online)
  • Navajo Pedagogy and Earth Systems. [Semken and Morgan, 1997] This article in the Journal of Geoscience Education provides information on Navajo pedagogy and earth systems. (citation and description)
  • Looking After the Land. [Semken, 1992] This article in Tribal College provides information about the research of the Navajo Dryland Environments Laboratory regarding the environmental needs of the Navajo Nation. (citation and description)
  • NAGT/GSA Symposium on Geoscience Education in Native American Communities. [Semken, 1997] This article in the Journal of Geoscience Education is a symposium on geoscience education in Native American communities. (citation and description)


Tribal College Journal Resources About Educating Native American Students

Resources containing information about educating Native American students.

  • Resources for Teachers on American Indian Education. [Albert and Peacock, 1999] This resource is an annotated bibliography of literature and websites about American Indian education. The list focuses is on resources for teaching American Indian students, but also includes materials that explain and/or demonstrate the integration of American Indian content into traditional subject areas. (Full Text Online)
  • Resources for Native Education Leaders. [Begaye, 2002] This resource list provides access to information about Native leadership as practice, study, or research. The collection includes a list of institutions and programs, as well as a bibliography of dissertations, articles, and books about Native American education leadership in Native organizations and communities. It also includes citations from Leadership Quarterly on the same subject. (Full Text Online)
  • Resource Guide: Culturally Relevant Resources for Environmental Science Instructors. [Engstrom, 2000] This resource guide provides a list of organizational web sites, print publications, and videotapes that provide culturally-contextual learning resources for teaching environmental science to indigenous students. The bibliography provides an annotated list with complete citations and links to relevant sites. (Full Text Online)
  • Resource Guide: Tools for Successful Collaborations. [Nichols, 2001] This annotated list of literature and web resources provides information for tribal colleges wishing to collaborate with other organizations, or to organizations wishing to collaborate with tribal colleges. These resources may also help maintain the health of already-established collaborative relationships. (Full Text Online)
  • Resources for Families, Communities, and Schools to Help Native Students. [Reyhner, 2001] This list of annotated resources is designed to help Native American and Alaska Native students succeed in school. It includes supporting literature, organizations and links to websites. The list focuses on alcoholism, substance abuse, and family literacy as particularly important issues to address. (Full Text Online)




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