Presentation #103.03 in the session “Scientific and Cultural Engagement with Arizona Indigenous Communities”.
There are over 300 Indian reservations in the United States that are occupied by Native Americans (Indians). The reservations were developed to keep Native Americans off European settlements. The reservations were created to allow the Native Americans to maintain their cultural identity and govern themselves. Most reservation schools do not provide all the necessities that neighboring schools (border towns) offer to their students. Areas that are often overlooked are Science, Math, Technology, and Engineering. Due to the lack of resource and support, Native Americans are less likely to see themselves in professional STEM roles as adults. They are also less likely to pursue higher education or leave the Reservation. The Native American Astronomy Outreach Program was developed 24 years ago to offer support to the reservation teachers to encourage more STEM in the classroom daily. Since then, the program has grown with a greater purpose, to encourage students to pursue higher learning, see themselves as professionals in STEM, and to hopefully, one day have a Native American Astronomer. The Native American Astronomy Outreach Program not only supports STEM but we also include cultural connections with high priority. Keeping the language alive and striving to carry on the traditional teachings is of upmost importance to the program. The program is specifically designed to help students get excited about STEM, especially Astronomy.