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Two Eyed Seeing — NASA & Indigenous Astronomy — For the Benefit of All

Presentation #432.06 in the session “Education and Public Engagement II: Broadening Participation in Education and Resources for Students”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Two Eyed Seeing — NASA & Indigenous Astronomy — For the Benefit of All

As described by Mi’kmaw elders:

Two-Eyed Seeing is learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of Western knowledges and ways of knowing, and to use both these eyes for the benefit of all. (Bartlett, Marshall and Marshall 2012, 336)

The Indigenous-based design of this project will inspire students to pursue opportunities in STEM or future STEM workforce by bringing together an expert Indigenous astronomy team and their social and educational networks to reach a large underserved audience through original content development and learning strategies rooted in Indigenous Scientific Knowledge Systems and aligned closely to NASA content.

History at the K-12 level has generally followed ‘great man’ narratives as a pedagogical tool to draw students into complex historical events through individuals who have directly impacted them. Histories of science have relied even more heavily on these tropes, as readily called to mind by Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. In virtually all cases for U.S. K-12 curricula, these approaches center the agency of European or European-diaspora men. In 2014, however, for the first time, the majority of America’s public schools were non-white. In 2040 the U.S. will be a ‘majority minority.’ This project creates Indigenous astronomy content by Indigenous people for our communities and everyone. Students from diverse communities will feel a greater sense of cultural pride, and the content will be more relevant to their lives. Some will be experiencing science for the first time through a wider cultural lens. This unique combination of connecting NASA science, Indigenous science, and culture & art in an authentic and innovative way in the classroom will inspire students’ curiosity and ignite their motivation to learn. Our STEM influencer team is vibrant and positioned as insiders. Success is secured because the work is built on the highest quality pre-existing work available and the Indigenous voice leads communicating a unique Indigenous perspective on NASA content. We will reach large, underserved communities because our networks are strong and sustainable. Demand is huge. This is an opportunity to create something better than ‘normal’ as we all are going through this COVID-19 storm-time. Standing together we have enormous reach and capacity.

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