Multiverse Blog

Mar
06
2015

A Thank You Letter to Our Native Universe Program

Posted 7 years 332 days ago ago by Karin Hauck
Karin Hauck

logo[This guest blog post comes in the form of a thank you letter we recently received from the Powerhouse Science Center in Durango, CO following our week-long residency there with our program Native Universe: Indigenous Voice in Science Museums. Thank you, Jen and Sarah, for allowing us share this letter.]

Dear Drs. Peticolas & Maryboy,

We here at the Powerhouse Science Center (PSC) would like to voice our emphatic support of the Native Universe project that we have been a part of over the past years. Located in Southwest Colorado, PSC carries the vision to be a leading science center in the Four Corners region. We work closely with a number of local tribes to provide a variety of STEM programming, including field trips, after school science classes, summer camps, and field trips. Before involvement in the Native Universe project, PSC educators struggled serving youth from local native communities, due to differing learning and teaching styles. Fearful of appearing pushy or offensive, we weren't sure what steps were needed to bridge this cultural divide.

The openness and approachability of the Native Universe team helped us begin to understand how native cultures view the acquisition of knowledge; stories are often involved, and are passed down from tribal elders. Much indigenous knowledge is heavily protected, and only offered to those who can be trusted with it. In-depth dialogues and excursions with the Native Universe team and local tribal representatives during weeklong residencies in Durango helped us determine next steps for fostering relationships based on trust, so that our organizations can mutually benefit. Rather than viewing a successful STEM career and a role in their native community as mutually exclusive, we are now able to encourage native students to seek out STEM careers that would be beneficial upon returning to their community, enhancing life for all tribal members.

The Native Universe project has also helped PSC recognize the endless possibilities for honorably and carefully weaving native voice throughout our science center, including our exhibit floor. Facilitating connections between STEM subjects and the diverse array of people in our surrounding area becomes much more of a possibility when people· see themselves represented in what we offer, teach, and honor. Thanks in large part to the Native Universe project, for the first time since PSC opened in February 2011, we feel empowered to make these changes. We offer our utmost support in any future projects along these lines. Please don't hesitate to contact us.

Warmly,

Jen Lokey
Manager, Curriculum and Instruction

Sarah Margoles
Director, Education and Public Programs






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