It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything on my platform here. As I manage my own information system, I should be using it more than I do those that belong to other people.
I attended and volunteered for the AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society) in Minneapolis. The purpose of this article is to explain why I am a part of this.
AISES was founded in 1977 as a collaboration of engineers who needed to create a society to foster inclusion of Native American, Canadian First Nation and Alaskan Natives in the engineering fields. Over the decade that followed, the discipline widened to include natural resources, health care, education and tribal college approaches towards preparatory education. Into the millennium, STEM and STEAM paradigms that collectively represented science, technology, engineering, arts, and math were gathered into a holistic educational approach in a cradle-to-grave continuous improvement through K-12 studies up through post-retirement mentorship.
AISES was quick to institutionalize this model into their own strategy. With initiatives such as Full Circle and the more informal concept of the ‘AISES family’ which was in part inspired by the success of community workplaces that were innovated in the late 1990s. Annually, since 1978, the national conference is the Woodstock, if I may use such a comparison, of all Native American engineers, engineering students and youth whom are inclined towards the sciences.
One attribute that I am certain that has contributed to AISES success is the parochial approach to a pan-Indian religious and cultural belief system. The formation of the Council of Elders by Phil Lane, Sr. created a three-way check-and-balance between the Board of Directors and the CEO of the organization to ensure that the membership is not alienated by a cold and impersonal system. In the historical past in most educational systems, most students were expected to metaphorically check their culture in at the door and transform into a foreign being for the purpose of education. AISES was an early advocate for the commingling of culture and science to attain a greater student benefit and more productive human being.
I personally invite you to join me as I present at the AISES conference in Denver between September 21st to the 23rd. Don’t take my word for it, I hope to see you there and find out for yourself.