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Tribal College Bridges Gap between Science and Culture

NSF Award:

Enahncing STEM Programs through Research and Culturally Relevant Curricula  (Sitting Bull College)

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Sitting Bull College (SBC) is instilling Lakota culture into several courses and research projects to support its newly accredited degree in environmental science. Prior to the support from NSF's Tribal Colleges and Universities Program, SBC offered very few science courses that emphasized culture and science.

SBC intends to retain more science, technology, engineering and mathematics students by involving them in culturally relevant undergraduate education. Since implementation, SBC has added a laboratory section to ethnobotany and included the study of traditional plant use into the curriculum. Many of the research projects also involve collecting local flora and fauna from the field.

The SBC project ultimately helps students enter the local workforce (where traditional knowledge is highly valued). Recent graduates have taken positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe EPA, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Game and Fish Department, the Sitting Bull College Analytical Laboratory and the Water Resource Institute.

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