Nancy Alima Ali Nancy Alima Ali

Diversity Resources for Working with Native American Audiences

Updated on May 8, 2015 - 3:19 PM CDT
Posted on May 4, 2015 - 7:36 PM CDT

Tags: Informal | SMD E/PO Community | Educator | Underserved / Underrepresented | Best Practices / Lessons Learned | Professional Development

Diversity PDWelcome to the Cross-Forum Diversity Professional Development

homepage focused on Native American audiences.


SMD Diversity Programs and Resources > Native American Audiences

Literature and Resources

Babco, E. 2005. Report on the Status of Native Americans in Science and Engineering. Prepared for the National Academy of Engineering Workshop on Engineering Studies at the Tribal Colleges. Available from

Barnhardt, R. and A. O. Kawagley. 2005. Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Native Ways of Knowing. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 36(1): 8-23. Available from

Faircloth, S. C. and J. W. Tippeconnic III. 2010. The Dropout/Graduation Crisis Among American Indians and Alaska Native Students: Failure to Respond Places the Future of Native Peoples at Risk. Available from

Mazzocchi. F. 2006. Western science and traditional knowledge: Despite their variations, different forms of knowledge can learn from each other. European Molecular Biology Reports 7(5): 463-466. Available from

National Science Foundation (NSF). 2003. The Cultural Context of Educational Evaluation: A Native American Perspective. Arlington, VA: Author. Available from

Snively, G. and J. Corsiglia. 2001. Discovering indigenous science: Implications for science education. Science Education 85: 6-34. Available from

Stein, J., Valdez, S. and Jones, E. 2012. The Cosmic Serpent Story: Summative Evaluation for Final Report. Institute for Learning Innovation. Available from



Astronomy Outreach Providers and Teachers of Native Americans.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory website that is designed for individuals who are beginning outreach programs in astronomy to Native American children.


NASA SMD EPO Professional Development Recordings

In 2012, the Heliophysics and Planetary Forums hosted a joint retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One professional development strand at this retreat was focused on engaging diverse audiences. Archived resources from this event include PowerPoint presentations, notes and videos of the "Engaging Diverse Audiences: Armchair Dialogue" plenary session featuring Drs. Nancy Maryboy and David Begay, Indigenous Learning Institute; Dr. Leon Johnson, Medgar Evers College, City University of New York; Salvador Acevedo, of Contemporanea; and Stephanie Herrera, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. These archived resources can be found at


SMD Projects Serving Native American Audiences

MAVEN: Imagine Mars through Native Eyes

Imagine Mars through Native Eyes – a professional development project for informal out-of-school time educators of native young teenagers, which adapts the process-driven MEPPE Imagine Mars project. The MAVEN E/PO team expects to train 30 out-of-school time educators, with a total reach of 900 youth.

NAI: Crow Education Program (Icy)

The Crow Education Project provides science enrichment activities for 10 4th grade classrooms and professional development for their teachers in three schools located on and adjacent to the Crow Reservation in Southwestern Montana.  It's purpose is to engage 4th graders on Native American reservations to astrobiology science and expose them to science as a career.  A district wide program, this hybrid education model incorporates monthly hands-on science activities, field experiences, and video conferencing technology to share science discoveries from scientists and educators at Montana State University with Hardin Intermediate School and Crow Agency School students.

NAI: Montana Native American Outreach (MSU)

This project hosts three science days during the school year at three elementary schools in the St. Labre school system (nearly 100% Native American from the nearby Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations) in eastern Montana.  It's purpose is to expose elementary students underrepresented in STEM to astrobiology science and careers. Teachers and students conducted three pre-lessons, the science day, and a post-lesson to evaluate  the value of the interaction.  

Rosetta Native American Initiative

The ROSETTA education and public outreach (E/PO) informal efforts include work with Native American Reservation Educators and Administrators to bring space and planetary science to Native American communities. The ROSETTA team is working with Reservation Educators and Administrators to bring together Tribal Elders and First Speakers to better understand the community needs and concerns in planetary and space science through language preservation. The objective of the ROSETTA E/PO informal effort is to educate students about small bodies and to motivate students to pursue STEM careers.

The Navajo Sky: Education Modules for Digital Planetariums

The effort will develop a set of authentic Navajo sky figures and use them as a basis for developing a set of educational digital planetarium modules that feature authentic Navajo sky stories, complimentary Western astronomy vignettes, compelling features from NASA space science missions, and accompanying classroom activities. Our goals are to engage Navajo (and other Native) youths in their own sky traditions, build an appreciation of Indigenous sky knowledge in non-Native youths, and introduce both audiences to compelling ideas in Western astronomy and NASA space science. 

LADEE: Navajo Tech Model Building

The Navajo Tech Model Building activity is a collaboration between LADEE and the Computer Aided Design and Modeling Program at Navajo Technical College. Students in the program learn to produce solid 3-D models of the LADEE spacecraft for use by the LADEE mission and its EPO programs. The faculty of Navajo Tech provides students with instruction on equipment, materials, software, and techniques for model building while LADEE provides spacecraft CAD files, a lunar science overview, and mission briefing.

If you prefer, everything here is also listed in the SMD Education Diversity Programs and Resources homepage if you want to use the filter features of the workspace or find information about other diverse audiences and issues.