Mont. Spring at Fort Belknap College promises to be the
start of an exciting endeavor, the Aaniinen-Nakoda Environmental
Excellence Center will be teaming up with the National Science
Foundation-Tribal Colleges and Universities Program to re-establish
native plants in local areas.
ANEEC is attempting to propagate, out-plant and establish native
plants on the Fort Belknap Reservation with the help of local agencies,
elders, students and faculty.
Western science is a powerful and successful methodology using quantitative
analyses, other valid epistemologies such as local place-based knowledge,
known as traditional ecological knowledge or indigenous knowledge,
are vital to science research.
brainstorming with the NSF-TCUP Project Coordinator Cheryl Morales
and the USDA Extension Project Director Manny Morales, we agreed
that students under the TCUP Summer Program and the FBC Internships
could start healing their environment by doing hands-on place-based
research for their community, said Dr. Victoria Yazzie, ANEEC
we sought the help of Nakoda elder, Minerva Allen in Lodgepole,
in February. And with her help we identified some local plants that
can be used for re-vegetation restoration and for native plant landscaping
alternatives on FBC campus. Minerva also serves on the Fort Belknap
College Board of Directors as the Assiniboine Mountain District
Representative and as a member of the Council of Elders.
met with Dennis Long Knife from the tribal EPA department about
the wetlands on the Fort Belknap reservation and located two areas
to have students replant the willows in the Upper Little Peoples
Creek and King Springs area, Cheryl Morales said. The
students will have a unique opportunity to really be a part of the
effort for ecological restoration in the watersheds on the Fort
Belknap College is a tribal college, and is the only minority serving
institution to receive a National Science Foundation [www.nsf.gov/]
grant in September 2009 for the establishment of the Aaniinen-Nakoda
Environmental Excellence Center. The center is advancing discovery
and understanding by offering students integrative and multi-disciplinary
place-based environmental research and education. The center is
infusing Aaniinen-Nakoda cultures by working collaboratively with
the community, council of elders, faculty, and staff by integrating
local traditional knowledge with Western science in research and
educational experiences. The learning experience for many of the
students is enhanced.
synergistic approach is a precept of the ANEEC. One of the goals
of the project is to fully integrate the science, technology and
math learning experience of which research and education are embedded
in a cultural and land-based context that fosters student engagement
and promotes student success. ANEEC brings together the STM degree
programs and connects the STM projects by effectively and efficiently
melding research experiences with academic curriculum.
the summer of 2006 we had two TCUP interns who assisted the botany
instructor in initiating the collecting of local native plants and
developing a herbarium, Morales said.
are extremely excited about this opportunity to do work with indigenous
people and to help heal mother earth, Yazzie said. We
hope to have some plants started in FBC greenhouse by May 2010 for
use in the summer research opportunities for students. We will also
be collecting plants and continue the development of the herbarium
of local native plants.