Back to Volume
Paper: A Place of Transformation: Lessons from the Cosmic Serpent Informal Science Education Professional Development Project
Volume: 457, Connecting People to Science
Page: 321
Authors: Peticolas, L.; Maryboy, N.; Begay, D.; Stein, J.; Valdez, S.; Paglierani, R.
Abstract: A cultural disconnect exists between Western scientists and educators and Native communities in terms of scientific worldviews and Indigenous ways of knowing. This cultural disconnect manifests itself in the lack of participation of Native Americans in Western science and a lack of appreciation by Western scientists of Native science. Our NSF-Funded project “Cosmic Serpent: Bridging Native and Western Learning in Museum Settings” set out to provide a way for informal science education practitioners and tribal museum practitioners to learn about these two worldviews in such a way as to inform their educational practice around these concepts. We began with a pilot workshop in year one of this four-year project. We then provided two week-long professional development workshops in three regions within the Western U.S., and culminated with a final conference for all participants. In total, the workshops served 162 participants, including 115 practitioners from 19 tribal museums and 41 science, natural history, and cultural museums; 23 tribal community members; and 24 “bridge people” with knowledge of both Indigenous and Western science. For this article, we focus on the professional and personal transformations around culture, knowledge, science, and worldviews that occurred as a part of this project. We evaluated the collaborative aspects of this grant between the Indigenous Education Institute; the Center for Science Education at the University of California, Berkeley; the Institute for Learning Innovation; Native Pathways; Association for Science and Technology Centers; and the National Museum of the American Indian. Using evaluation results, as well as our personal reflections, we share our learnings from a place of transformation. We provide lessons we learned with this project, which we hope others will find relevant to their own science education work.
Back to Volume