CITY - Global-satellite photos and global- positioning systems
are modern parallels to an American Indian scout seeking information
for his tribe, according to James Rattling Leaf.
Leaf, land and natural- resource developer for Sicangu Policy Institute
at Sinte Gleska University in Mission, spoke Wednesday to students
in Central High School's Lakolkiciyapi Room.
summer, Sinte Gleska received a $5 million NASA grant to develop
resource management systems and education tools.
product of the grant is a program called RezFinder, which Rattling
Leaf demonstrated for the students. Using a satellite's topographic
photo of Rosebud Indian Reservation, RezFinder displayed a parallel
map of the same area. With the click of a computer button, Rattling
Leaf expanded the satellite image to show a bird's eye view of a
can add sound," he said, giving the computer another command.
Music from a Lakota drum group filled the classroom, and with another
command, a Lakota speaker was heard.
is helping bridge generations on the reservation and preserve cultural
awareness, Rattling Leaf said. The program has maps that show historical
link language and songs to protect and preserve the language,"
Leaf said it's important to get kids involved in what global information
systems, or GIS, can do for them, and especially for American Indians.
satellite imagery to a hand-held global-positioning system and demographic
information, GIS encompasses a multitude of information-gathering
is relevant because it's about the land, and that's what defines
us as a people," Rattling Leaf told the students.
the past, a tribe depended on scouts to gather reliable information
that guided the people's decisions, he said.
wanted the best information available," he said.
GIS can serve a similar purpose and provide information the tribe
can use for economic development and management on the reservation,
use GIS demographic information to track our high rollers at the
casino," he said.
is also used to manage the tribe's buffalo herd.
pushing GIS because it's land related," Rattling Leaf said.
is also interdisciplinary and involves other sciences, culture and
geography teacher Valerie Johns said that Rattling Leaf's presentation
was important because he illustrated the correlation between math
satellite photos, Rattling Leaf showed the students thermographic
images of ocean currents, the heat generated by cultivated and noncultivated
land, and storms forming on land and in the sea.
Leaf emphasized that a fire burning in Africa affects climate in
other parts of the world.
Frye, the Rapid City School District's community partnership facilitator,
coordinated Rattling Leaf's visit to the freshman classroom.
the ones who can make a difference," she told the students
who heard Rattling Leaf's presentation.
is creating huge boosts to information," Frye said. "And
you're going to have to learn to use that information."
Leaf said, "We're trying to build this culture for merging
science and technology with our traditions."
goal is also to develop a new generation of leaders capable of making
the connection between the technology and the land, he said.