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 more » 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. « less
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of contemporary water research & education
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. 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.
  2. 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 changesmore »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.« less
  3. 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.
  4. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education initiatives in higher education increasingly call for career mentorship opportunities for underrepresented minorities (URM). Researchers (Johnson & Sheppard, 2004; Nelson & Brammer, 2010) note the importance of having faculty to mentor and act as role models for students, often assuming that mentors play a stronger role if they are also from the same cultural background. Native American (NA) faculty members are underrepresented in most fields in colleges and universities, and exceedingly so in engineering. Only 0.2% (N=68) of engineering faculty nationwide identify as Native American (Yoder, 2014). Likewise, NA students are underrepresented in undergraduate (0.6%; N=1853) and graduate (0.1%; N=173) engineering programs. The low percentage in graduate school is of even greater concern as they represent the primary potential pool of new faculty members. Advising and mentorship from those who identify as NA are often considered important components recruiting and retention in STEM fields. For example, Smith and colleagues (2014) found that factors such as communal goal orientation influenced NA engineering students’ motivation and academic performance. However, very few studies account for differences in NA identity or provide a nuanced account of successful NA STEM professional experiences (Page-Reeves et al., 2018). This researchmore »paper presents findings from an exploratory study aimed at pinpointing the factors that influence NA entry and persistence in engineering faculty positions.« less
  5. Hydroinformatics and water data science topics are increasingly common in university graduate settings through dedicated courses and programs as well as incorporation into traditional water science courses. The technical tools and techniques emphasized by hydroinformatics and water data science involve distinctive instructional styles, which may be facilitated by online formats and materials. In the broader hydrologic sciences, there has been a simultaneous push for instructors to develop, share, and reuse content and instructional modules, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a wide scale pivot to online instruction. The experiences of hydroinformatics and water data science instructors in the effectiveness of content formats, instructional tools and techniques, and key topics can inform educational practice not only for those subjects, but for water science generally. This paper reports the results of surveys and interviews with hydroinformatics and water data science instructors. We address the effectiveness of instructional tools, impacts of the pandemic on education, important hydroinformatics topics, and challenges and gaps in hydroinformatics education. Guided by lessons learned from the surveys and interviews and a review of existing online learning platforms, we developed four educational modules designed to address shared topics of interest and to demonstrate the effectiveness of available tools tomore »help overcome identified challenges. The modules are community resources that can be incorporated into courses and modified to address specific class and institutional needs or different geographic locations. Our experience with module implementation can inform development of online educational resources, which will advance and enhance instruction for hydroinformatics and broader hydrologic sciences for which students increasingly need informatics experience and technical skills.« less