In 2017 a team from the College of Education at Washington State University received a grant from the National Science Foundation to work on a project called Culturally Responsive Indigenous Science (CRIS). In this essay we explore a small piece of the CRIS project with our Coeur d’Alene partners and the lessons we learned from it. These lessons include building and using a culturally responsive lesson plan template and the challenges associated with doing so, learning together and teaching each other how science belongs within a language classroom, and examining beautiful examples of an Indigenous teacher using traditional educational methods with his students. We close with contemplations on further learning and work that can come from this project and the collaborations and relationships we have developed and continue to nurture.

Author Biography

Stephany RunningHawk Johnson

Stephany RunningHawk Johnson, a member of the Oglala Lakota nation, focuses her research on supporting Indigenous students attending universities and majoring in science fields. Stephany is working with local tribes to incorporate land-based education and Traditional Ecological Knowledges in order to increase Indigenous students' sense of identity and belonging in a university setting. She is also conducting research on how non- Indigenous instructors can begin to decolonize their teaching practices. All of Stephany’s work is done through an Indigenous feminist lens and is dedicated to supporting nation building and tribal sovereignty as well as empowering Indigenous communities and students in working toward social justice.

Sequoia Dance-Leighton

Sequoia Dance-Leighton is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and a descendent of the Assiniboine (Red Bottom Band). She is currently a PhD student at Washington State University in the Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education Program. Sequoia’s research interests is in Indigenous wellness and collective healing through an Indigenous feminist lens. She is currently working as graduate research assistant where she is exploring Indigenous students’ sense of belonging in school.



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