The Voices to Hear project is a National Science Foundation funded research project (#1759355) that has an overarching goal to deepen the connection of future Native American decision-makers to their land, their community, and the scientific processes directly related to their everyday lives in order to develop leaders who help strengthen the pillars that make the foundation of their tribe (Scholarship, Guardianship, Stewardship, Membership and Spirituality). The project is a partnership between the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, University of Idaho, and State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo. The project supports the following goals:
Goal 1: Students will understanding the five pillars that make the foundation of the Couer d'Alene tribe (Membership, Scholarship, Stewardship and Guardianship): By interacting with tribal experts in natural resource managment and other community members students will explore their own identities within the conext of the five pillars.
Goal 2: Students will understand the process of environmental decision-making within their communities: Through creating audio documentaries about water-related environmental issues faced in their community, students will learn how their community members and leaders negotiate water-related environmental issues as well as have an opportunity to reflect on these issues with their peers.
Goal 3: Students will understand how different types of knowledge are used to make real life decisions: Students will observe and participate in authentic problem solving about water-related environmental issues within their communities, thus giving them an opportunity to learn how Indigenous and Eurocentric scientific knowledge work together in authentic problem-solving processes. Students will also understand Eurocentric science concepts related to water and water management such as hydrologic cycles, watershed function, effects of climate and land use change, water quality and types of pollutants, hydraulics, aquatic ecosystems, and water management.
Goal 4: Students will use Indigenous methodologies to conduct research and articulate scientific phenomena: The process of making radio documentaries and podcasts will enable students to ask research questions that are important to them, explore those questions using an epistemology that they are familiar with (oral knowledge building), and present their findings in an oral (and sonic) narrative form. By using Indigenous methods that are aligned with local ways of knowing and thinking to explore problems within their communities, the students will understand that they do not need to abandon their Native American identity in order to do rigorous scientific research.
Goal 5: Students will understand the pathways to traditional and non-traditional STEM careers: Producing radio documentaries and podcasts will provide students a platform to interact with community members, elders, scientists, engineers, educators, documentary makers, writers, and many other professionals who are engaged in activities related to environmental management and outreach. This will provide them with an understanding of pathways to a diverse set of career opportunities in STEM-related subjects.