skip to main content

Title: Emerging Voices of Tribal Perspectives in Water Resources
Tribal perspectives in water resources and education are often overlooked. Only recently, the field of hydrologic sciences began to include people in conducting science (Sivapalan et al. 2012) and to value indigenous perspectives with western science (Huntington 2002; Redsteer et al. 2012). The April 2018 issue of Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education (JCWRE) explores emerging voices in tribal communities related to water resources quality and quantity and impacts to tribal water resources such as climate change and water use. This special issue begins with three foundational papers, providing a baseline understanding on water quality regulation, water quality disparities, and tribal economies as they relate to water settlements. The special issue features articles focusing on various water challenges facing tribes and the role of tribal colleges in addressing these challenges. There are less than 0.3% of Native American graduate students and post-doctorates in Science and Engineering and only a handful in hydrologic sciences and related sciences (NCSES 2016). While tribal lands are rich in natural resources and have significant water challenges (Cozetto et al. 2007; Smith and Frehner 2010), it is very unique that 67% of the lead authors are Native American including three Native American faculty, three Native American graduate students, and one Tribal College and University (TCU) Faculty. A deep discussion on water challenges facing tribes and Native American scientists working on these challenges are emerging voices of tribal perspectives in water resources.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of contemporary water research & education
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Nicewonger, Todd E. ; McNair, Lisa D. ; Fritz, Stacey (Ed.) At the start of the pandemic, the editors of this annotated bibliography initiated a remote (i.e., largely virtual) ethnographic research project that investigated how COVID-19 was impacting off-site modular construction practices in Alaska Native communities. Many of these communities are located off the road system and thus face not only dramatically higher costs but multiple logistical challenges in securing licensed tradesmen and construction crews and in shipping building supplies and equipment to their communities. These barriers, as well as the region’s long winters and short building seasons, complicate the construction of homes and related infrastructure projects. Historically, these communities have also grappled with inadequate housing, including severe overcrowding and poor-quality building stock that is rarely designed for northern Alaska’s climate (Marino 2015). Moreover, state and federal bureaucracies and their associated funding opportunities often further complicate home building by failing to accommodate the digital divide in rural Alaska and the cultural values and practices of Native communities.[1] It is not surprising, then, that as we were conducting fieldwork for this project, we began hearing stories about these issues and about how the restrictions caused by the pandemic were further exacerbating them. Amidst these stories, we learned about how modular home construction was being imagined as a possible means for addressing both the complications caused by the pandemic and the need for housing in the region (McKinstry 2021). As a result, we began to investigate how modular construction practices were figuring into emergent responses to housing needs in Alaska communities. We soon realized that we needed to broaden our focus to capture a variety of prefabricated building methods that are often colloquially or idiomatically referred to as “modular.” This included a range of prefabricated building systems (e.g., manufactured, volumetric modular, system-built, and Quonset huts and other reused military buildings[2]). Our further questions about prefabricated housing in the region became the basis for this annotated bibliography. Thus, while this bibliography is one of multiple methods used to investigate these issues, it played a significant role in guiding our research and helped us bring together the diverse perspectives we were hearing from our interviews with building experts in the region and the wider debates that were circulating in the media and, to a lesser degree, in academia. The actual research for each of three sections was carried out by graduate students Lauren Criss-Carboy and Laura Supple.[3] They worked with us to identify source materials and their hard work led to the team identifying three themes that cover intersecting topics related to housing security in Alaska during the pandemic. The source materials collected in these sections can be used in a variety of ways depending on what readers are interested in exploring, including insights into debates on housing security in the region as the pandemic was unfolding (2021-2022). The bibliography can also be used as a tool for thinking about the relational aspects of these themes or the diversity of ways in which information on housing was circulating during the pandemic (and the implications that may have had on community well-being and preparedness). That said, this bibliography is not a comprehensive analysis. Instead, by bringing these three sections together with one another to provide a snapshot of what was happening at that time, it provides a critical jumping off point for scholars working on these issues. The first section focuses on how modular housing figured into pandemic responses to housing needs. In exploring this issue, author Laura Supple attends to both state and national perspectives as part of a broader effort to situate Alaska issues with modular housing in relation to wider national trends. This led to the identification of multiple kinds of literature, ranging from published articles to publicly circulated memos, blog posts, and presentations. These materials are important source materials that will likely fade in the vastness of the Internet and thus may help provide researchers with specific insights into how off-site modular construction was used – and perhaps hyped – to address pandemic concerns over housing, which in turn may raise wider questions about how networks, institutions, and historical experiences with modular construction are organized and positioned to respond to major societal disruptions like the pandemic. As Supple pointed out, most of the material identified in this review speaks to national issues and only a scattering of examples was identified that reflect on the Alaskan context. The second section gathers a diverse set of communications exploring housing security and homelessness in the region. The lack of adequate, healthy housing in remote Alaska communities, often referred to as Alaska’s housing crisis, is well-documented and preceded the pandemic (Guy 2020). As the pandemic unfolded, journalists and other writers reported on the immense stress that was placed on already taxed housing resources in these communities (Smith 2020; Lerner 2021). The resulting picture led the editors to describe in their work how housing security in the region exists along a spectrum that includes poor quality housing as well as various forms of houselessness including, particularly relevant for the context, “hidden homelessness” (Hope 2020; Rogers 2020). The term houseless is a revised notion of homelessness because it captures a richer array of both permanent and temporary forms of housing precarity that people may experience in a region (Christensen et al. 2107). By identifying sources that reflect on the multiple forms of housing insecurity that people were facing, this section highlights the forms of disparity that complicated pandemic responses. Moreover, this section underscores ingenuity (Graham 2019; Smith 2020; Jason and Fashant 2021) that people on the ground used to address the needs of their communities. The third section provides a snapshot from the first year of the pandemic into how CARES Act funds were allocated to Native Alaska communities and used to address housing security. This subject was extremely complicated in Alaska due to the existence of for-profit Alaska Native Corporations and disputes over eligibility for the funds impacted disbursements nationwide. The resources in this section cover that dispute, impacts of the pandemic on housing security, and efforts to use the funds for housing as well as barriers Alaska communities faced trying to secure and use the funds. In summary, this annotated bibliography provides an overview of what was happening, in real time, during the pandemic around a specific topic: housing security in largely remote Alaska Native communities. The media used by housing specialists to communicate the issues discussed here are diverse, ranging from news reports to podcasts and from blogs to journal articles. This diversity speaks to the multiple ways in which information was circulating on housing at a time when the nightly news and radio broadcasts focused heavily on national and state health updates and policy developments. Finding these materials took time, and we share them here because they illustrate why attention to housing security issues is critical for addressing crises like the pandemic. For instance, one theme that emerged out of a recent National Science Foundation workshop on COVID research in the North NSF Conference[4] was that Indigenous communities are not only recovering from the pandemic but also evaluating lessons learned to better prepare for the next one, and resilience will depend significantly on more—and more adaptable—infrastructure and greater housing security. 
    more » « less
  2. Science identity is composed of three key components, including competence (possessing scientific knowledge), performance (the capacity to use scientific tools and language in appropriate settings), and recognition (earning validation from others in the field) (Carlone & Johnson, 2007). The significance of a strong science identity is in shaping a student’s future behavior, such as intent to graduate and pursue a STEM career (Chang et al., 2011; Chemers et al., 2011), which is particularly important for those with notable retention challenges within STEM like women, underrepresented minorities, first generation, and rural students (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2012). The work of building students’ science identity and encouraging their development as emerging scholars and scientists relies on both classroom experiences and the form and quality of mentoring relationships with faculty (Kendricks et al., 2013). This study considers how students see their own science identity development, and which supports they believe most central to science identity. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    Freshwater systems worldwide are increasingly facing complex environmental issues. In the Laurentian Great Lakes region, harmful algal blooms are one example spanning agriculture, municipal drinking water, science and monitoring, water quality, and human health. Addressing these challenges and working across stakeholder interests requires sound science and additional skills that are not necessarily taught to graduate students in the apprentice research model. Effective stakeholder engagement and science communication are two areas consistent with emphases on broader impacts from the National Science Foundation, information and dissemination of the National Institutes of Health, and community engagement of the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The lack of training in these areas creates a gap for outreach, engagement, and science communication training to help enable researchers to translate important science to influential stakeholders, policy makers, and members of the public. To address this gap, we held a Community-Engaged Scholarship Workshop for graduate students and early career faculty. The workshop used an established community-engagement framework and was tailored to address the complex environmental issue of harmful algal blooms. It addressed four community-engagement competencies, including community-engaged partnerships, community-engaged teaching and learning, community-engaged research, and science communications. Here, we report evaluation results on changes in these four competencies and participant satisfaction. We conclude with a discussion of potential improvements and next steps for those seeking to host similar community-engaged trainings. 
    more » « less
  4. The importance of diversifying the national STEM workforce is well-established in the literature (Marrongelle, 2018). This need extends to graduate education in the STEM fields, leading N.C. A&T to invest considerably in graduate education and wraparound support initiatives that help graduate students build science identity and competencies for careers both within and beyond academia. The NSF-funded Bridges to the Doctorate project will integrate culturally reflective mentoring and professional development specifically designed for Black, Latinx, and Native American Ph.D. students. This holistic, graduate student development model includes academic and professional skill-building for STEM careers alongside targeted support for pursuing fellowship opportunities. This paper discusses the planned mentoring approach for the aforementioned program and previous approaches to mentoring graduate students used at N.C. A&T. The BD Fellows program will support formal and informal mentoring relationships, as mentoring contributes towards retention in STEM graduate programs (Ragins, 2007). BD Fellows will participate in monthly one-hour seminars on how to identify, establish, and maintain informal mentoring relationships (Schwartz et al., 2018; Parnes et al., 2020), while STEM faculty will attend seminars on leveraging their social networks as vital sources of mentorship for the BD Fellows. Using a multi-pronged collaborative approach, this model integrates the evidence-based domains of self-efficacy (Laurencelle & Scanlan, 2018; Lent et al., 1994; Lent et al., 2008), science/research identity (Lent et al., 2015; Zimmerman, 2000), and social cognitive career theory (Lent et al., 2005; Lent and Brown, 2006) to recruit, enroll, and graduate LSAMP Fellows with STEM doctoral degrees. Guided by the theories, the following questions will be addressed: (1) To what extent is culturally reflective mentoring identified as a critical driver of B2D Fellows’ success? (2) To what extent are the program’s training components fostering increases in B2D Fellow’s self-efficacy, competency, and science identity? (3) What is the strength of the correlation between participation in the program training components, mentoring activities, and persistence in graduate school? (4) To what extent does the perceived importance of self-efficacy, competency, and science identity differ by race/ethnicity and gender? These data will be analyzed using both formative and summative assessments of program outcomes. Quantitative data will include pre-, post-, and exit surveys. Qualitative data will assess the impact of mentoring and program support. This study will be guided by established protocols that have been approved by the N.C. A&T IRB. It is anticipated that our BD Fellows program will significantly impact the retention and graduation rates of underrepresented minority STEM graduate students in our doctoral programs, thus producing a diverse workforce of STEM professionals. Materials from the program recruiting cycle, mentoring workshops, and the structured fellowship application process will be disseminated freely to other LSAMP and minority-serving institutions across the country. Strategies and outcomes of this project will be published in peer-reviewed journals and shared in conference proceedings. 
    more » « less
  5. Since 2002, the National Center for Earth-Surface dynamics has collaborated with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, the University of Minnesota, and other partner institutions to develop programs aimed at supporting Native American participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and especially in the Earth and Environmental Sciences. These include the gidakiimanaaniwigamig math and science camps for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Research Experience for Undergraduates on Sustainable Land and Water Resources, which takes place on two native reservations, and support for new majors at tribal colleges. All of these programs have a common focus on collaboration with communities, place-based education, community-inspired research projects, a focus on traditional culture and language, and resource management on reservations. Strong partnerships between university, tribal college, and Native American reservation were a foundation for success, but took time and effort to develop. This paper explores steps towards effective partnerships that support student success in STEM via environmental education. 
    more » « less