AIHEC partners with feds on climate change

Nov 6th, 2012 | By | Category: 24-2: The Future of the Tribal College Movement, Tribal College News
By Al Kuslikis

With funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) have partnered to bring tribal colleges and universities into the climate-change-education community established by the Climate, Adaptation, Mitigation, ELearning (CAMEL) project. Tribal colleges and universities will enrich the collection of climate-change-education materials with traditional ecological knowledge and American Indian cultural perspectives.

CAMEL is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, multimedia online resource provided at no cost to educators that enables effective teaching about climate change; it also allows educators to create and share curricular resources.

Over many generations, Indigenous communities have accumulated extensive knowledge of local environments. This knowledge is often unknown by modern scientists. Making traditional knowledge available is critical to the advancement of sustainable environmental practices for Indigenous communities and the global community.

Understanding how to effectively conserve and utilize traditional knowledge is already an important part of the mission of Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC, Sells, AZ), the College of Menominee Nation (CMN, Keshena, WI), and the Applied Indigenous Studies department at Northern Arizona University (NAU). Faculty members Teresa Newberry (TOCC) and Octaviana Trujillo (NAU) developed a module incorporating traditional O’odham knowledge that explores how climate change is affecting water supplies. CMN faculty members Bill Van Lopik and Lisa Bosman developed a module on climate statistics intended to bring mainstream research tools to Indigenous students.

NCSE recently hosted the CAMEL Climate Change Continuing Education Symposium, which included 11 weekly webinars on specific curricular materials found on CAMEL. More than 1,000 people registered for the symposium, which included presentations by TOCC/NAU and CMN. Materials from the symposium can be found online: http://www.camelclimatechange.org/articles/view/174555/.

AIHEC invites all Tribal College Journal readers to join the community of climate-change educators at: www.camelclimatechange.org/ and to participate in the upcoming webinar series in the fall of 2012.

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