Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

July 22, 2010

Indigenous scholar to speak at SKC

By Lailani Upham

PABLO — The public is invited to a free speaking engagement from renowned indigenous scholar from the University of New Mexico, and a Tewa tribal member, Greg Cajete.

Cajete holds a doctorate degree from the International College – Los Angeles New Philosophy Program in Social Science Education with an emphasis in Native American Studies. Currently, he is the Director of Native American Studies and an Associate Professor in the Division of Language, Literacy and Socio cultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico.

Cajete designs culturally-responsive curricula geared to the special needs and learning styles of Native American students. These curricula are based upon Native American understanding of the “nature of nature’ and uses this foundation to develop an understanding of the science and artistic thought process as expressed in indigenous perspectives of the natural world.

Cajete will be traveling to Salish Kootenai College with the University of Montana Student to Academic Professoriate for American Indians (SAPAI) project next week and will speak on Monday, July 26 at 5 p.m. at the SKC Arlee Charlo Theatre.

The SAPAI program at the University of Montana is funded by the National Science Foundation to increase the rates of degree completion for American Indian graduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It also aims to increase the representation of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) scholars in STEM faculties at tribal colleges and universities.

SKC has been working with SAPAI students for the past three years in an effort to connect UM graduate students with the intention of guiding students into a teaching career at a tribal college, according to Bill Swaney, SKC instructor. This is the second year Professor Cajete will be speaking at SKC.

Cajete’s work is dedicated to honoring the foundations of indigenous knowledge in education. He has served as a New Mexico Humanities scholar in ethno botany of Northern New Mexico and as a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission. In addition, he has lectured at colleges and universities in the U.S. , Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, England, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Cajete has also worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 21 years. During his service at IAIA, he served as Dean of the Center for Research and Cultural Exchange, Chair of Native American Studies and Professor of ethno science.

Professor Cajete has authored five books: “Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education,” “Ignite the Sparkle: An Indigenous Science Education Curriculum Model,” “Spirit of the Game: Indigenous Wellsprings,” “A People’s Ecology: Explorations in Sustainable Living,” and “Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence.”

For more information call Bill Swaney at (406) 275-4896.

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