Oklahoma Alliance Listening Meetings
As part of the process we held 3 community meetings:
Initial Listening Meeting
A community listening meeting was held in March in Norman, OK, where 21 leaders in Native American education in Oklahoma identified high priority community issues and how they intersect with the geosciences. They also considered critical stages of the pathway from middle school to tribal college to university, including after school and informal learning experiences, where the potential for geoscience integration into STEM learning exists. Participants at the meeting developed an initial asset list and pathway map and agreed to participate in informal working groups to continue the pathway planning.Individual tribes have unique issues relating to encouraging and mentoring their students to engage in STEM-related activities, thus it was important to include multiple viewpoints in the planning process. The outcomes of the meeting were:
- Identification of community priorities
- Determination of the educational activities are already happening in the local communities
- Creation of list of suitable assets and educational resources available to alliance stakeholders to address the compelling local issue that we had identified.
- Creation of three working groups: K12, undergraduate, and Informal. Due to limited resources, we did not make use of these groups in the way we had envisioned.
Meeting 2 – Creating a new pathway map
Our 2ndcommunity meeting was held in October 2017 at the American Indian Institute offices in Noman, OK. There were 7 local participants connected with 5 tribes, plus representatives from the OU Department of Geology and Geophysics and the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS), and the director of Indian education for the Anadarko school district, for a total attendance of 12 people. The participants, most of which had also attended the March meeting, seemed committed and interested in creating an educational pathway for Native American students. At the meeting, we reviewed the pathway map from the previous meeting and then designed new pathway maps based on the previous map, initial Alliance activities and new shared ideas, such that we could begin aligning partner assets and resources with community needs. One group chose a spiral for their pathway, where individuals can cross over any of the spiral lines to create their unique path on a journey toward greater wisdom (in this case, geoscience knowledge). The spiral is an ancient symbol that also has deep meaning for Native American cultures. The 4 boxes in the corners are elements that participants felt are the necessary "cornerstones" for success throughout the pathways.
The final community meeting was held in August 2018 at the tribal headquarters of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe. There were a total of 18 participants, representing 5 tribes plus a school district, along with individuals from partner organizations. It was an opportunity to celebrate our progress, share resources with the community, and most importantly to develop future plans to expand the pathways for encouraging more Native American students to choose careers in the geosciences.