Breakout session III:
Connecting to tribal communities

Breakout session III:
Connecting to tribal communities

Sunday, September 21, 2003
9:00 - 10:15 am

Presenter:
Anna G. Cavinato, Chair, Division of Science, Mathematics and Technology- Eastern Oregon University

Abstract:
Creating research opportunities that extend beyond the local campus and that connect undergraduate students to the surrounding environment is an important step in attracting and retaining students interested in environmental fields. This session features collaboration between Eastern Oregon University and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in establishing a service-learning course in environmental chemistry. Students have an opportunity to learn about environmental issues of interest to the tribe and are given the choice of pursuing specific research projects. Some of these include investigating the snow pack composition of a commercial area within the reservation, analyzing moss used for ceremonial practices for possible PCBs contamination, and examining steelhead liver from the Columbia River. The collaboration with the tribe not only creates opportunities for interdisciplinary projects that engage students to solve real-world problems, but also provides them with a realistic appreciation of the Native American culture and values. In exchange tribal members gain access to expertise and instrumentation that may answer some of the pressing questions they have about the safety of their environment.