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Native American student perspectives of challenges in natural resource higher educationAuthor(s): Breanna Gervais; Chase R. Voirin; Chris Beatty; Grace Bulltail; Stephanie Cowherd; Shawn Defrance; Breana Dorame; Raymond Gutteriez; Jessica Lackey; Candy Lupe; April B. Negrette; Natalya C. Robbins Sherman; Ruth Swaney; Kevin Tso; Marvin Victor; Royale Wilson; Kimberly Yazzie; Jonathan W. Long; Serra J. Hoagland
Source: Journal of Forestry. 115(5): 491-497.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
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DescriptionNative Americans have vital interests in promoting forest management decisions based on sound science and consistent with cultural values to sustain and conserve tribal natural resources. Advancing the next generation of natural resource professionals into key positions is essential to advance the self-determination of tribes; yet, there are unique challenges Native American students encounter when pursuing an advanced degree in natural resources. We formed an informal group of Native Americans who have been undergraduate and/or graduate students in natural resource fields to discuss their experiences in higher education. The group discussed their personal paths to and experiences in undergraduate and graduate programs, including academics and campus culture. Students collectively identified several significant deterrents, including insufficient access to mentors with experience working with tribal communities at nontribal universities, as well as a lack of interdisciplinary courses that integrate tribal land management practices and traditional ecological knowledge with nontribal and western ecological science. Based on our findings, we suggest practices and programs that academic institutions can emphasize to address the challenges in recruiting and retaining Native Americans in natural resource-related programs.
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CitationGervais, Breanna K.; Voirin, Chase R.; Beatty, Chris; Bulltail, Grace; Cowherd, Stephanie; Defrance, Shawn; Dorame, Breana; Gutteriez, Raymond; Lackey, Jessica; Lupe, Candy; Negrette, April B.; Robbins Sherman, Natalya C.; Swaney, Ruth; Tso, Kevin; Victor, Marvin; Wilson, Royale; Yazzie, Kimberly; Long, Jonathan W.; Hoagland, Serra J. 2017. Native American student perspectives of challenges in natural resource higher education. Journal of Forestry. 115(5): 491-497.
KeywordsIndian forestry, higher education, traditional ecological knowledge, American Indian tribes
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