Presentation #103.04 in the session “Scientific and Cultural Engagement with Arizona Indigenous Communities”.
Native-America is at an important milepost in its struggles to survive into the coming century with its cultural identity intact and its ability to incorporate new educational ideas. Sovereign tribal governments and communities are redefining their educational programs to use the best of their still active cultures with the less familiar concepts of the non-Native pedagogy. A holistic connected process needs to be utilized to provide increased meaning of what is to be taught. This connected process involves using their language and culture to show the relevance of the subject content. The Pueblo of Acoma, in New Mexico is in a process of revitalizing its traditional Keres language and it is being infused across its school curriculum. Native-America needs these types of connections to fully understand the changing world, and to educate the non-Native public of its cultural perspectives. The Astronomical community can build upon the sky-watching and cultural history of the tribes to broaden the appeal and interest of this Science. Acoma students will develop a connection with their tradition to an evolving scientific understanding. Outreach program like NAAOP, PUNCH and in all STEM disciplines need to incorporate the learner’s culture, language and identity to increase the level of importance of the participant’s education and knowledge.