SCTC Developing Program In Environmental Science

Feb 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-3: Tribal Athletes Fight for Their Place, Tribal College News

JESSE HELMS DEMONSTRATES TRADITIONAL FIREMAKING

MAKING FIRE. Jesse Helms (Saginaw Chippewa Tribe) works a Mullien stem on a cedar to start a traditional fire. Helms is secretary of the tribal college student council and received one of the program’s scholarships last fall. Photo by Cheryl Calhoun

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College (SCTC, Mt. Pleasant, MI) is developing an environmental science program with the help of the SCTC Native American Studies Program, community groups, students, and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (CSREES Tribal College Equity Grant program).

The program developers are focusing upon recruitment and community outreach. A full-time science faculty member was added to the staff last spring. Two scholarships are available to students: the Environmental Science Research Scholarship and the Linking Our Community and Colleges Scholarship. The program also includes biannual SCTC Green Earth Environmental Forums. USDA CSREES awarded the four-year equity grant to the college in 2006.

The forums, scholarships, and outreach have opened doors for students, staff, and stakeholders to help develop this program while enhancing their academic and community relationships. These relationships with universities, other tribal colleges, elders, and cultural groups have helped SCTC infuse cultural relevancy within the science, technology, engineering, and math curricula while connecting the larger community closer to the tribal college. At the forum last fall, teachings were led by elders Curtis Hopkins and Bucko Teeple. The gathering was hosted by the tribal college and The Seventh Generation Cultural Center.

Recently, the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council purchased a building to be renovated into a wet laboratory. The tribe has purchased 23 acres of land that had traditionally belonged to them. The site consists of a pond, woodlands, and meadows, which will be useful in natural and indigenous science class activities. The ultimate goal is to locate the college campus at this site, closer to other tribal facilities such as the Elders Center.

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