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Special Issue: Re-imagining who does STEM
Published: 31-01-2020

Why STEM Needs Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge: A Case Study of Ichishkíin Math

University of Oregon
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Jennifer L Ruef

Assisstant Professor of Mathematics Education

Department of Education Studies&

University of Oregon

University of Oregon
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Stephany Runninghawk Johnson

PhD Candidate, Critical and SocioCultural Studies in Education

2019 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellow

Department of Education Studies&

University of Oregon

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University of Oregon
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Michelle M Jacob

Professor of Indigenous Studies

Department of Education Studies&

University of Oregon

Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI)
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Joana Jansen

Research Associate

Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI)

University of Oregon

University of Oregon Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI)
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Virginia Beavert

Distinguished Elder Educator

Ichishkiin Researcher/Instructor

Department of Education Studies

Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI)

University of Oregon

TEK Mathematics STEM education Indigenous language

Abstract

In our paper, we discuss the benefits of applying an Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) framework to STEM fields. We draw from our shared experiences&with feminist praxis and in&building an Indigenous TEK Initiative at the University of Oregon;&in this paper&we focus on a case of how an Indigenous Tribal Elder contributes to our project on&Ichishkíin&math. We place this project in a broader context of how Tribal Elders are deeply engaged in STEM education and research including: Indigenous language documentation, natural resources management, and traditional Tribal stories that explain how all parts of ecology are relatives. In our paper, we share examples of TEK contributions to STEM and conclude that TEK makes the following impacts in STEM fields: 1) shifts the narrative of who “belongs”; 2) (re)situates Tribal Elders as experts; 3) reclaims Indigenous cultural and language knowledge as inherently important. We urge all STEM researchers, teachers and practitioners to consider the importance of TEK and the vast knowledge and wisdom of Tribal Elders.&Doing so subverts the damaging logics that perpetuate exclusionary practices in STEM.&All students, scholars, and STEM professionals can benefit from engaging Indigenous Knowledges, and doing so in partnership with Indigenous peoples will have the greatest benefit. &

How to Cite

Ruef, Jennifer L, Stephany Runninghawk Johnson, Michelle M Jacob, Joana Jansen, and Virginia Beavert. 2020. “Why STEM Needs Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge: A Case Study of Ichishkíin Math”. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology 11 (3):429-39. https://genderandset.open.ac.uk/index.php/genderandset/article/view/662.