by Dr. Henrietta Mann
Months of pandemic challenges have demonstrated that Native
people can both pivot and persevere. We can be sure that tests of that
very resilience will continually confront us, even after the virus
recedes. This new column is a place where members can help each other
cultivate the resilience that has sustained Indigenous people for
generations. In this inaugural message, Dr. Henrietta Mann, Council of
Elders charter member emerita, offers some thoughts.
Resilience is part of our DNA as Indigenous people.
Our ancestors knew they had to be flexible because they couldn’t see the
future. In the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) that comes down
from one generation to the next, we learn that our ancestors — who were
wonderful scientists — were very conscious of one constant: change. That
life will change is one of our core teachings. Our elders have always
wanted to guide our young people in the knowledge that would help them
cope with change. Our ancestors handed this knowledge down to us: to be
flexible, adaptable, and roll with the punches.
Know that your grandparents were resilient enough to survive previous
epidemics and lived to teach succeeding generations. AISES elders are
carriers of the traditional knowledge they share with AISES young
people. That these elders carry on their roles as transmitters of
culture, lifeways, and a value system makes AISES unique.
The process of walking your life journeys will bring change, like the pandemic, that will draw on every bit of knowledge you bring.
It is important that AISES keeps young people rooted in who they are
so they can be resilient. That resilience is available to our students.
It’s there for you. Our unique young people are so special and were
placed on this Earth for a purpose. The process of walking your life
journeys will bring change, like the pandemic, that will draw on every
bit of knowledge you bring. The traditional knowledge you carry is
within, and you can draw upon it. Remember that you can call on Council
of Elders members for reminders on carrying your history and knowledge
into tomorrow. You are not alone.
Charity Navigator, the country’s largest independent charity
evaluator, has given AISES its top distinction of Four-Star Charity.
Only the most fiscally responsible and transparent charities earn that
ranking, which is based on multiple metrics of governance, ethics, and
financial practices. Fewer than 25 percent of scrutinized charities earn
four stars from Charity Navigator.
AISES has announced that with the continuing challenges of the
pandemic, the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair
(NAISEF) will be on hiatus in 2021.
An article on CIO.com,
citing tech companies’ poor track record when it comes to increasing
diversity — 68 percent of the workforce is white — recognized 15
organizations working to change the statistics. First on the list of
organizations recognized for growing representation through
scholarships, training, networking resources, and more was AISES.
The AISES family is saddened by the death of Cheryl L. McClellan, a
longtime champion of Natives in STEM and role model and mentor to many.
McClellan was the 2018 recipient of the Ely S. Parker Award, the highest
AISES honor. Professionally, she was an engineer and supplier quality
specialist at The Boeing Company, where her expertise applied to
military aircraft contributed to the national defense. She also held
several leadership roles in her tribe, the Sac and Fox Nation. Cheryl
McClellan died in January of COVID-19.
Sequoyah Fellow Alan Moomaw is being remembered by his many friends
at AISES and colleagues at the EPA in Washington State, where he served
as tribal coordinator. A member of the Puget Sound Professional Chapter,
Alan Moomaw was active in AISES since his student days. He began his
long career at the EPA thanks to a connection he made at a National
Conference College and Career Fair when he was in graduate school. Alan
Moomaw left us in December, and the AISES Family sends our deepest
sympathies to his wife, Jeri, and his family.
Winner of the 2019 Technical Excellence Award, Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben
has received two research awards earmarked to benefit tribal
communities. One from the NSF will fund a case study in one tribal
community evaluating wastewater for coronavirus, as well as an appraisal
of the wastewater infrastructure to determine if this analysis would be
useful. Funding also covers training for wastewater and health
employees. The second grant, from the National Institutes of Health,
will enable risk assessment through routine measurement and sequencing
of strains of the COVID-19 virus in a tribal communities nationwide,
partnering with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. For the latter
study, Dr. Conroy-Ben is recruiting communities interested in
participating. To learn more about this study contact email@example.com.
Dr. Conroy-Ben is senior sustainability scientist at the Global
Institute of Sustainability and Innovation and an assistant professor at
the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at
Arizona State University. For more on Dr. Conroy-Ben, see Member News on
Do you or a member you know have a new academic degree, promotion, or award? Newly published book or paper? Let us share the good news — just email Winds of Change editor Karen English at firstname.lastname@example.org.