» Tribal Education

Delivering Post-Secondary STEM Education on the North Slope, Alaska: Resilience and Adaptation

Prior to the 1960s, the majority of rural students seeking an education moved from their village to regional population hubs to attend boarding schools. Based on western curricula, boarding schools did not recognize traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). Post-secondary education opportunities were only available in Fairbanks, Anchorage or Sitka, however, TEK or Alaska Native world views were not addressed in science course offerings. Upon gaining the right to provide education at the local level, the North Slope Borough (NSB) of Alaska incorporated Iñupiat educational philosophies into the educational system. The NSB, in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, established Iḷisaġvik College, the only tribal college in Alaska. Now independently accredited, Iḷisaġvik offers 2-yr academic degrees and certificates in Allied Health programs, and is developing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. Iḷisaġvik seeks to broaden STEM education on the North Slope to meet the needs of employers and research in fields such as climate science. Courses bridging TEK and western science have been developed as a means of introducing STEM education to North Slope students. These courses include summer science camps, workshops, college curriculum, and internships. Relationships between local and visiting educators, scientists, community scholars, and Elders facilitate closing the TEK and western science gap. Read More

A Decade of Tribal Environmental Health Research: Results and Impacts from EPA's Extramural Grants and Fellowship Programs

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities have been inextricably linked to their environments for millennia. Because of their reliance on natural resources to maintain traditional diets, lifeways, customs and languages, there is a unique need for tribal-focused research to identify impacts of pollution, dietary exposure, cumulative risk and climate change as well as to inform decisions to reduce health risks in these areas. Read More

Tribal Brownfields and Response Programs: Respecting our Land, Revitalizing our Communities

This report highlights how tribes are using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program funding to address contaminated land in Indian country and other tribal lands. It also highlights the challenges tribes face. It provides a historic overview of EPA’s Brownfields Program, as it relates to tribes, and demonstrates EPA’s commitment to the development of tribal capacity to deal effectively with contaminated lands in Indian country. The report includes examples of tribal successes to both highlight accomplishments and serve as a resource for ideas, information and reference. Read More

PETE NSF Indigenous Education Curricular Resources

Under the National Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE)’s NSF ATE grant Connecting Tribal and Pacific Rim Colleges to Improve Indigenous Environmental Technology Education, Environmental and STEM curricular resources are available. These resources are developed for Tribal and Pacific Rim science and math courses, however activities and curricular ideas are applicable to all STEM classrooms. Read More

Developing Culturally Based Science Curriculum for Native American Classrooms

This paper provides an overview of an academically rigorous, culturally relevant and responsive curriculum and instruction model that is based on the Native Science Connections Research Project (NSCRP) and funded by the National Science Foundation. The model is action and inquiry oriented as well as culturally based and integrates or “connects” Native students’ traditional culture knowledge with Western science for fifth grade students in public, contract and BIA schools on the Navajo, Hopi, San Carlos Apache and Zuni reservations. One school principal stated, “the NSCRP brings purpose and meaning to what the students are doing because it integrates Navajo thought and content with Western content. It honors who the students are…it [also] strengthened our teachers’ self-confidence about using their native language and culture.” Read More


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EERL is a product of a community college-based National Science Foundation Center, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), and its partners.

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