Playlist: Indigenous Ways of Learning

This playlist is created for the October 2022 Theme of the Month.


Share your thoughts about this month's theme with the panelists and the community.
Public Discussion
  • October 20, 2022 | 01:12 a.m.

    Thank you to all the panelists for the thoughtful and interesting remarks in the panel, and thank you for all who attended, for your participation!

    I would like to ask if there was something that surprised you or was news to you, in today's panel.

    And I would also like to ask if you have a question that we didn't get to in the panel.

  • Icon for: Erica Austin

    Erica Austin

    October 20, 2022 | 12:18 p.m.

    Many thanks to the panelists! I learned so much from the discussion, the blog and references. I am wondering if Dr. Smith has a report or can review the survey statistics she discussed in her remarks, which were so important. I am interested both in the results she found and also in how she phrased the questions, because sometimes the way we ask questions does not resonate well and can be disrespectful. Thank you for any guidance!

  • October 20, 2022 | 04:34 p.m.

    Hello, Erica, wado for your question. Unfortunately, our report is not published and ready for public consumption just yet. Once it is in the future, we can share findings and our questions.

  • October 20, 2022 | 06:45 p.m.

    Hi, Erica. As Tiffany said, our reports are not published just yet. However, you can access two short publications that resulted from the pilot project that lead to the Native STEM Portraits study. They are available in the resources tab, with Silva as the first author. 


  • Icon for: Andrew Dayton

    Andrew Dayton

    October 20, 2022 | 11:33 a.m.

    Thanks to the organizers and to all who attended.  I look forward to discussing the important ideas that came up in the panel and breakouts in more depth here.

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Petersen

    Elizabeth Petersen

    October 20, 2022 | 11:47 a.m.

    Thank you for the expert panel. I found everything to be a really great discussion. I could only stay on for 1 hour so I am curious if anyone got to answer my question about when we are teaching about characteristics of living things in a life science class - a rock is considered nonliving scientifically. However one of my students who is Native American said in his culture, all of the Earth is considered living. That has really stayed with me and I wonder how do we support Native Americans and also the science. Thank you so much for your thoughts on this question. 

  • October 20, 2022 | 12:09 p.m.

    We did not, but we should! I know I have experienced Navajo students who needed to be accommodated when I taught an evolution lesson involving examining (plastic) skulls of humans, great apes, and human ancestors. My students told me they were unable to do that lab because examining human remains (even synthetic ones) is reserved for certain cultural roles (i.e., medicine men). It was easy enough to have them complete an alternative lab and replace that activity with a different one for future semesters, which I did, but it raises interesting questions for medical schools, in this case.

    As for questions about the living Earth, I find that opening up these conversations and talking about the philosophy of science and biology in particular. The Gaia Hypothesis is a great discussion starter. I use these conversations to talk about how Western science is but one philosophy of science, and others are also valid and worth considering. Interested to hear from others!

  • Icon for: Andrew Dayton

    Andrew Dayton

    October 20, 2022 | 12:13 p.m.

    'Siyo, Elizabeth,

    This is a fantastic question.  While I would imagine other panelists and attendees can provide more thoughts on this, I would like to point you to this resource:

    Bang, M., & Medin, D. L. (2014). Who's Asking? Native Science, Western Science, and Science Education. MIT Press

    This work directly engages the question you introduce here -- written by imminent researchers in the fields of IKS and cognitive development.

  • October 21, 2022 | 07:35 p.m.

    Hi folks, A comment on the conversation about the importance for learning of being able to give back, to contribute--

    My team made a video last year about the motivating role of learning with purpose -- some of you might want to see it, at

    Also, I wonder if other panelists or attendees would like to post references or links to materials on Indigenous ways of learning?  Especially related to the importance of giving back, intergenerational learning, and collaboration.


  • October 24, 2022 | 12:15 a.m.

     Hi, Barbara. 

    Thank you for posting this video. I had not seen it before and it is really nice to see the parallels of this video with our team's. We come to very similar conclusions: that being helpful to others in their communities supports persistence.

    We have a manuscript that has been accepted for publication on the topic of giving back, but, unfortunately, it's not out yet. 



  • October 25, 2022 | 06:04 p.m.

    It will be great to see your manuscript when it's published, Nuria!

    In the meantime, some viewers might be interested in our 3-minute research video on children learning by helping out -- closely related to learning by giving back.  It's from the NSF Video Showcase, at


  • November 13, 2022 | 05:41 p.m.

    Thanks again to the panelists for their insights on Indigenous ways of learning!

    I would also like to express my deep appreciation for the organizers of the NSF Video Showcase and TERC.  The Showcase is such an important contribution to science and to learning!  It has hosted over 1000 videos that have encouraged research teams to explain their work to a broad array of viewers.  These videos have inspired deep discussion at the time of the competition itself and beyond, as each year's videos remain available for viewing by researchers, educators, policy makers, and students in classes where they are used to bring important ideas to light.   Thank you, thank you for this contribution to advancing understanding.

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