Tribal Research Specialist: The Podcast

#15 - Achieving Success: Advice from Indigenous Professors in Academia - Guests: WILLOW AGEP Alliance Fellows

August 13, 2020 Annie Belcourt, Aaron Brien, Salena Hill, Serra Hoagland, Shandin Pete, Renae Schmitt, Robert Smith, Aaron Thomas, Season 1 Episode 15
Tribal Research Specialist: The Podcast
#15 - Achieving Success: Advice from Indigenous Professors in Academia - Guests: WILLOW AGEP Alliance Fellows
Chapters
0:00
Victory Song - Paul Antoine (Salish) - 1932
1:21
Part I - Achieving Success: Advice from Indigenous Scholars
39:56
Outro
Tribal Research Specialist: The Podcast
#15 - Achieving Success: Advice from Indigenous Professors in Academia - Guests: WILLOW AGEP Alliance Fellows
Aug 13, 2020 Season 1 Episode 15
Annie Belcourt, Aaron Brien, Salena Hill, Serra Hoagland, Shandin Pete, Renae Schmitt, Robert Smith, Aaron Thomas,

In the episode, the IRC team speaks with The WILLOW AGEP Alliance Fellows. The Willow AGEP Alliance brings together three institutions - University of Montana, Salish Kootenai College, and Sitting Bull College. The WILLOW AGEP Alliance includes interconnected components focusing on retention and support for NAF-STEM via a mentoring program, grant preparation, and management program, and institutional support program.  The development of a model to increase the success of NAF-STEM will provide more effective ways to strengthen their participation through professional development and systemic institutional change. This is an AGEP-T: Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate – Transformation under these NSF HRD grant numbers: #1723248 - University of Montana (UM), #1723006 - Salish Kootenai College (SKC), and #1723196 - Sitting Bull College (SBC).

The IRC team asked the WILLOW Fellows the following questions: In Western Academics, what has been considered a victory to you? In the current state, how do victory and success look in the future? 

Guests include:
Dr. Annie Belcourt (Otter Woman) is an American Indian Assistant Professor in the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Montana Pharmacy Practice and School of Public and Community Health Sciences Departments.
https://health.umt.edu/pharmacypractice/Faculty%20and%20Preceptors/Directory.php?ID=3227

Renae Schmitt is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She is an instructor in the Environmental Science Program at Sitting Bull College
https://sittingbull.edu/sitting-bull-college/programs/environmental-science-masters-program/

Dr. Robert Smith is an Associate Professor at the University of Montana in the Computer Science Department.
http://hs.umt.edu/cs/facultyAndStaff/default.php?s=Smith3075

Dr. Aaron Thomas is a member of the Navajo Nation. He is the Director of Indigenous Research and STEM Education (IRSE) at the University of Montana, in addition to his role as Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
https://hs.umt.edu/chemistry/people/faculty.php?s=Thomas2104

Have answers? Suggestions? Agree? Disagree? Join the conversation at one of our social media sites. Your input is valuable to advance our understanding.

Hosts: Aaron Brien, Salena, Hill, Serra Hoagland, Shandin Pete

Website http://irc.skc.edu   
Apple Podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/podcast-irc/id1512551396
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Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ircskc/
Twitter https://twitter.com/IRCSKC
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/106832977633248/
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Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/TribalResearchSpecialist)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In the episode, the IRC team speaks with The WILLOW AGEP Alliance Fellows. The Willow AGEP Alliance brings together three institutions - University of Montana, Salish Kootenai College, and Sitting Bull College. The WILLOW AGEP Alliance includes interconnected components focusing on retention and support for NAF-STEM via a mentoring program, grant preparation, and management program, and institutional support program.  The development of a model to increase the success of NAF-STEM will provide more effective ways to strengthen their participation through professional development and systemic institutional change. This is an AGEP-T: Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate – Transformation under these NSF HRD grant numbers: #1723248 - University of Montana (UM), #1723006 - Salish Kootenai College (SKC), and #1723196 - Sitting Bull College (SBC).

The IRC team asked the WILLOW Fellows the following questions: In Western Academics, what has been considered a victory to you? In the current state, how do victory and success look in the future? 

Guests include:
Dr. Annie Belcourt (Otter Woman) is an American Indian Assistant Professor in the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Montana Pharmacy Practice and School of Public and Community Health Sciences Departments.
https://health.umt.edu/pharmacypractice/Faculty%20and%20Preceptors/Directory.php?ID=3227

Renae Schmitt is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She is an instructor in the Environmental Science Program at Sitting Bull College
https://sittingbull.edu/sitting-bull-college/programs/environmental-science-masters-program/

Dr. Robert Smith is an Associate Professor at the University of Montana in the Computer Science Department.
http://hs.umt.edu/cs/facultyAndStaff/default.php?s=Smith3075

Dr. Aaron Thomas is a member of the Navajo Nation. He is the Director of Indigenous Research and STEM Education (IRSE) at the University of Montana, in addition to his role as Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
https://hs.umt.edu/chemistry/people/faculty.php?s=Thomas2104

Have answers? Suggestions? Agree? Disagree? Join the conversation at one of our social media sites. Your input is valuable to advance our understanding.

Hosts: Aaron Brien, Salena, Hill, Serra Hoagland, Shandin Pete

Website http://irc.skc.edu   
Apple Podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/podcast-irc/id1512551396
Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/1H5Y1pWYI8N6SYZAaawwxb
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ircskc/
Twitter https://twitter.com/IRCSKC
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/106832977633248/
YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWwuqsg39_mE76xMxER5MSQ

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/TribalResearchSpecialist)

Shandin Pete :

Welcome to podcast IRC conversations with indigenous scholars to advance understandings and gain new knowledge hosted by the indigenous Research Center at Salish kootenai College. All right, so that song, there was a song sung by Paul antonian. Early in 1932, it was recorded at that time, and is a is a short clip of what we call though, like a victory song. And generally, these songs were sung, of course, to note a victory in battle or a victory and maybe a horse raid and in more recent times, I suppose, but this song was, um, apparently given in an old vision, and it had been used for many years, by the Salish people here. And when the men would return from their battles, they would be singing these victory songs. And once they reach their camp, they would start completing their circle around the camp, and the people would join in singing this, this victory song and other songs to kind of note their, their victories in, in battle, etc. So this is kind of an important component in today's world. Because, well, for one, we don't necessarily go to battle like we did in the past, of course, we still do have our veterans who serve in the military. But we do have a number of indigenous folks and tribal folks who accomplish other great deeds. And we have us, we have today with us a number of scholars who've completed advanced degrees. And the question that I want to ask for you all today, is in your Western academic training, and in the work you do today, what would you consider to be a victory? What would you consider to be a victory in today's academic world? Think on that for a second molad over, tilt your head to the left a little stare out your window? What would be considered a victory for you today? Considering your work in western academics? Okay. Well also considering, say again, sorry,

Serra Hoagland :

I'll jump in here on this. So yes, you can. I know everyone's a little quiet. It's always tough to get this started. But I think, again, kind of a hard one to say, because I think we're generally pretty, pretty humble. So you don't want to admit to all the things that we've accomplished. But one thing that I can say that just was recent in my just this last week as a victory, is we just recruited five Native students to University of Montana for graduate work. Some will be in the Wildlife Department, and some will be in range management. And prior to, I mean, maybe just a couple months ago, I think these students with COVID, and stuff didn't, they had some jobs lined up, and they had opportunities, which some didn't end up panning out. And so we sort of took advantage of the opportunity to recruit them to graduate school at u m. And so I think that that's a victory because, one, we're just going to continue to populate all of our tribal natural resource departments with educated Indian people to make decisions on behalf of our tribal communities. And I think that that is just a victory because that's really at the heart of tribal sovereignty.

Salena Hill :

I wish we had a clapping background noise I would have pressed that, Sarah.

Serra Hoagland :

Thanks for snapping.

Aaron Brien :

Sir, will you introduce yourself just your name and your title?

Serra Hoagland :

Yeah, thank you. Sara Hoagland. I work with the USDA Forest Service. And then I'm also a bit sailors Cooney college in the indigenous Research Center. Thanks.

Salena Hill :

Thank you. Rob, do you want to go ahead and go?

Rob Smith :

Sure. Dr. Rob Smith, Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Montana. So I think they're kind of standards like tenure or grants awarded, that sort of thing. I think me personally, I think I would consider a victory any opportunity to advance knowledge and to help others attain understanding or stature that they wouldn't have otherwise. So I, I think the advancement of others is pretty important to me personally, as well as just sort of what's out there for everyone and in terms of knowledge and trying to discover something new.

Salena Hill :

Okay, Dr. Thomas, what are your thoughts about that?

Aaron Thomas :

So Dr. Aaron Thomas, Assistant, associate professor, University of Montana Chemistry Department, Director of indigenous research in STEM education, I'll say about this question was opposed earlier this morning. And I think one of the, I guess victories for us Western education is really an opportunity. So there are opportunities for students from wherever they happen to be to get a higher education degree. Now, I know there are challenges. With that, I know that it's not perfect, I know that access is also an issue. But if you want a higher education degree, and you know, really any field there, there are tribal colleges or community colleges or institutions or private institutions, there's just opportunity, no matter where you are, to have a chance to study these fields and go really as far as you want. So that to me, would be a victory.

Salena Hill :

I agree. Renee, you have any thoughts on that?

Renae Schmidt :

Renee Schmitz, environmental science instructor at Sitting Bull college? Um, well, I, I work at a tribal college. So I think that a lot of my, the tribal college influences my, what I have, what I think a victory would be and a lot of it is, is related to student success. And whether or not I can help students join their interest in science with the desire to help their communities and also learn more about their culture. And I guess that's kind of like would be a personal victory two is when I'm able to do a research project that's beneficial to my tribe. But it's very important for me to try to help students not just finished a degree, but to help them, like I said, make a connection between their job and their community and culture, and to be successful after they graduate. And I hope I'm somewhat victorious and helping students become future leaders. That sounds a little bit ambitious. But, um, that, you know, that would be nice to see students actually progress and have, you know, their own personal successes, while you know, it's still remaining tied to the culture. And I guess that's all I wanted to say.

Salena Hill :

Thanks, Ernie. I do think Yeah, not seeing that successes on award and itself and, and achievement, I think for all of us who have been in higher education. That's one of the things I know that keeps me around. So being able to see that in your own students and students who have mentored and taught in your classrooms. Mr. Aaron Brown, would you like to go?

Aaron Brien :

Oh, Aaron, Bryn Reese, our ns faculty sandwich Cooney college research coordinator for the indigenous Research Center.

Salena Hill :

Okay, Aaron, I know you have something to add to this.

Aaron Brien :

I don't know I'm you challenged me now. I'm not gonna say no, I don't know. I mean, there's, this is we've talked about this kind of a lot on our on some of our other episodes of the podcast. So I would say forms of victory. It's hard because I've been taking some als lately in terms of academic Mix. So I'm not very optimistic. No, I think we need to kind of quit. I think in Indian Country, there's a notion that you have to leave home to be successful too. And that's still kind of perpetuated, which I don't think is true anymore. I think that we have to start teaching people that in any situation, they can be successful if the right type of application is applied, or, um, but also, I think that we can't let others define what victory is for ourselves. Once we do that, it kind of seems like we give up a little bit of some sort of freedoms, I guess, I don't know. So, but we should never forget that like in terms of deeds and accomplishment in Indian country, the actual war deed itself is still part of the highest form of accomplishment. And that's it. So, but yeah, that's, that's about it. Stop.

Salena Hill :

So, I know that this situation that we're all in has us, you know, there's a lot of negative aspects to it, or isolating aspects to it. But to be able to get together with your colleagues that you would normally just be able to have conversations with. This has this has worked, I've appreciated them. So I was excited to, to have this conversation with you all today, because I, first of all, I miss seeing your faces. And second of all, I know that we all have something to learn from each of your experiences. And so just to wrap up that last question, thinking about access, personal achievements. Sometimes we don't, we're not always in our own eyes, or in somebody who's judging our work successful. But even just having a seat at the table, I think is also a victory. For each of us. I really appreciated Sarah's comment about tribal nation building and sovereignty, I think that is also a huge victory for us. So just continue to, to work at providing success, our support to students, like Rene talked about, is only going to result in more victories for American people in, in academia, so Oh, so just Does anybody else have anything to add to that victories?

Rob Smith :

I guess, one, one thought on this is Aaron was mentioning sort of sort of an individual definition of success, or how that could vary from person to person or situation. From situation, I think this is a theme that comes up a lot. And one, one strategy that I think helps is to pin ourselves down as individuals to define what success means. And then it's not that, you know, that's, that's set in stone, it can change if we learned something, or if circumstances change, but I think it helps our peers, especially to know what's important to us. And, to provide. It's one of these things where if you if you anticipate that they will want some sort of a criteria to, not to measure us, but you know, to have an idea of how we're doing it, we can either choose to provide that or choose to let them fill in the blank. And I think that it's dangerous to, personally to not have a definition of that for myself. Because then it's an it's, it can be something that I can sort of try out as an excuse, every time I missed the mark, I just say, well, that's not my definition of success, and just kind of rotate off of it infinitely. And I think in this life, we have one life to live, you got to sort of pick what you want to spend it on. And then hold yourself accountable to that. Because even if you don't hit the mark, that's your own mark, you can learn something from that. And that doesn't have to be a failure. Even if you don't hit the goal for success. You learn how to improve. And I think that's pretty important. Because the end of the day it's kind of easy to fool our active brain but our our internal brain, it's a lot harder to fool and it can cause a lot of anxiety and distress if we're kind of living a sham and we don't hold ourselves accountable to something. So

Salena Hill :

yeah, I think that is really important to identify our own levels, our own definition of success, especially when the background We come from definitely look at success in a different attitude and from a different perspective than some of the institutions that we work for. I know Will's been doing some work around defining sikkert trying to understand how we measure success and what we, as an American Indian people see as success. So I think, yeah, just more focus on that, and, and almost taking the ownership back to that definition for ourselves as well. It's really important. Thanks, Rob, for sharing. Yeah, for sharing that. Okay, topic too. I'm in the current state, how does victory and success look in the future? So when Shawn Dean and I were trying to prepare questions for today's discussion, we were thinking about the current situation of the fall semester at each of our institutions. And, you know, all of us are kind of in a different scenario at each of the institutions. And so thinking about what successes to you and victories are to how will those change? Or how will they look maybe different? How will you redefine success for yourself in this in this upcoming transition that is still pretty unknown. I mean, I know most of our institutions have set what they're going to do for fall, but it could change that at a day's notice. So just thinking about about the future and how you will define a victory and success.

Aaron Brien :

Take it away. Aaron Bren, you're gonna just call out someone's got to start pointing fingers. Okay.

Serra Hoagland :

We're shy.

Salena Hill :

Running.

Renae Schmidt :

I'm sorry. Did someone else answer just just because I my mind was wandering. While you're speaking. That always

Serra Hoagland :

brutal honesty? I love it.

Salena Hill :

Oh, no, nobody else answered. And you beat me to repeat any of it.

Aaron Brien :

Give us the short version.

Salena Hill :

Oh, that was the problem. long winded Miss. Okay, victories and success? What do they look like in this new era?

Aaron Brien :

For us? Are you talking more about like, what's going on nationally? Are you just talking about just the world?

Salena Hill :

What's the big question? We just said, the current state. So I think we could talk. I mean, because we're talking about academia and success and victories in that realm. I think that's where we were trying to focus on. But of course, like these conversations, like in all of these conversations, whatever you feel like sharing, it's important to hear,

Aaron Brien :

I think, in terms of what's going on, and just for academics, and COVID, I think just making it through is a bit won't be a huge victory, just without pulling our hair out. And all that because teaching online, it's tough, at least for me, and then the whole mission behind the tribal colleges, like one to one learning and in person. And it's, it's it really, it's born out of the old tech, you know, the trade school kind of mentality, which is like applied knowledge and kind of boots on the ground kind of mentality so to, for us to be successful in what's going on right now. It'd be, it's, it's hard, because it's also we're asking a lot of our students because they by choice, they've chosen institution that choose that doesn't teach that way. for a reason, you know, so I'm, I sympathize mainly with students over that institution's themselves, partly because, man, we're asking the pay the same amount of money to go to school, and do do what we're asking, but yet we're not giving them what they chose our institution for. So in on that, just trying to make it and wonder like, at least for our institution, tribal colleges are a little more fragile in terms of finances. So we can't afford to lose students and we can't afford to lose kind of the momentum that's created at tribal colleges. But I'm optimistic. I think we need to be

Rob Smith :

I'm not I'll be honest, I'm not. I have yet to see anything that's impressed me about decision making around COVID. And I'm sorry to say that someone said someone said something earlier, and I don't want to point fingers and I certainly don't want to get in trouble. But someone said something earlier about how things keep changing. You in ways that are unpredictable. And I think that at some point, it's the leaders responsibility to take a stand on something, and then try their best to insulate their subordinates. Maybe that's a carryover from my time in the military. But I have not seen a preponderance of people who are willing to do that. And and I'll generalize this in academia. I'm not specifically talking about specific people or specific institutions. That's my indemnity clause. But, but yeah, and I think that's a real unfortunate thing. So for example, students pay for a certain service. And when that gets changed last minute, it's really hard as an instructor for me to provide the same quality. And so I kind of have to scramble around to try to make something equivalent. Well, is it really surprising when things get changed? at the last minute, this fall? Speaking of something, as if it's already happened, it's it's not guaranteed, but it's highly likely. And then you ask, Well, why are things the way they are? And it's well, because we need them to be because their financial constraints, and if we don't meet them, we're in big trouble. Okay, but how does that have anything to do with reality? And what's actually going to happen? So, can we get out in front of things and say, given the most likely outcome, what's the best arrangement we could have? And then make a call and stick to it instead of let's pretend that things aren't as they are. And now we all know how that's gonna end. And so I expect that nationally, we're going to see a lot of institutions get shut down, permanently. I think that's going to happen. And so given that, what is the best move forward? The writing has been on the wall about online education for years. Now what what has institutions done about it? They've pretended it doesn't exist? That's that was their solution. And so how is this gonna all pan out? I don't know. But I don't think it's gonna be pretty. Sorry, I didn't have coffee this morning.

Salena Hill :

I appreciate your long winded Miss. Mm hmm. I can relate. Yeah, I think a lot of what you had to say, in regards to leadership was reminding me of a lot of what you had to say about success and how we have to, at some point, define it for ourselves, right. And so going into this, this next phase of our academic year, what there you know, some of it might be what we have to define as what will what we're willing to do in our research in our classrooms, in our Moodle platforms, you know, just let's say, Okay, this is what I'm going to offer this semester. And this is how I'm going to proceed, regardless of last minute decisions. I know, that's easy to say, right, from where I'm sitting. But that's that's what was my thinking, as you're sharing while Rob, do you guys have any other thoughts about?

Serra Hoagland :

I guess, as as Rob and Aaron, were talking, I was thinking about the degree of uncertainty and the like, unstable Foundation, and the changing dynamics from, you know, one guidance to another guidance, like that just creates so much stress and anxiety. And it's, it basically comes down to the fact that it's, we're in a system that isn't resilient to begin with, and can't like you were saying on our earlier call, Rob, going to the event that you went to, in preparation for something like this, and the conclusion was that, that we are, we aren't prepared for this. And so I think it's just pointing out that we weren't quite built in a resilient way, or as resilient as we might have thought we were, I guess, um, and then just to speak personally about this question. You know, a lot of the work that I am thankful to be able to do is a lot of tribal engagement type stuff. And, you know, we're not able to meet in person with our tribal partners and collaborators now. And so it's completely changed the way that we we work and I think that this will really be a defining period, moving forward, like how we can actually adapt in this time and how how we can maintain those relationships in a pandemic. But I I'm trying to be optimistic, like Aaron brand too, but it's hard.

Aaron Brien :

It's really hard. I think there's a sense of urgency that institutions aren't like adhering to at least some institutions that

Serra Hoagland :

a sense of I think he says urgency It's such an urgent

Unknown Speaker :

situation. Oh,

Aaron Brien :

oh, wait, was I quit talking?

Salena Hill :

Oh, did

Aaron Brien :

with? Because I can I know and my internet was out. Okay. All I said was urgency and then it went out and then I just stopped

Serra Hoagland :

smoking.

Aaron Brien :

I was thinking about this, you know, I mean, because we can't help but kind of talk about leadership and in this time, and Native people I've always viewed like the qualities of a leader and the qualities of ceremony in times of uncertainty, right? Like, what do we do? When crisis happens. And I think in terms of how I do research, and a lot of us in Indian country that focus on indigenous research, a lot of it has to do with how we apply tribal knowledge to whatever topic it is we're doing. So I know, at least in Crow, we've lost eight elders in a month and a half.

Unknown Speaker :

Oh, my gosh.

Aaron Brien :

So in to give you an example, I'm in the middle of going through an IRB process with the university. And it's so clunky and so slow. And two of the people that I potentially could have spoke to have died in that in that amount of time. And so it's like, well, there has to be some mitigate mitigation to that, like, Are we going to continue with this really, like drawn out long process? I just feel like they're kind of that people act naive to the importance of some of that stuff. We talk a lot about the importance of that. And a lot of my success is predicated on my connection with elders, because that's like, my whole job. That's what I do other than teach, right? Is I collect stories. And so if they're not around, what am I to do? You know, so? And that's not just me, there's everyone's relying on that. So, um, Rob was saying, I wish he would have pointed fingers. But I think I, I agree with him a lot about how I've been very disappointed in terms of decision making in in in some of that. So that's my two cents. That's just me on my soapbox.

Salena Hill :

I don't know, not so sorry. I didn't. I just think that's really important to hear, though. I mean, it's, it's the hard truth of what's happening right now. And it's affecting us at every stage at our at our professional stage. And that's when we're supposed to, you know, we're supposed to be connecting with our communities. At a personal stage that's connecting all of us, there's so much loss and fear around what's happening. I just think I mean, I appreciate you bringing that to, to this conversation. Dr. belcourt, now that we can hear you,

Annie Belcourt :

sure. Dr. Andy belcore, a professor at the University of Montana, and pharmacy and public health, um, yeah, I was just been thinking about the discussion. And, you know, I think in terms of like victories or strengths, I think that we could potentially share right now are the sort of elements of compassion that we have within our culture, not only for other people, but for ourselves and for our families and for our communities. And I think that that's one of the things that we need the most right now is for people to start caring about each other. And, you know, right now, you know, we just have such a culture nationally, of discard. And, and, and it's so, I mean, I have to say, it's depressing to see that people are willing to put, you know, profits and different things over lives. And, you know, and I've talked about this, but, you know, just like, just locally here, you know, you know, the schools talking about going back and having no idea how they will do that safely for children. And coming from, you know, public health perspective. I mean, it's just really, it's not a good thing to try to do this right now. I mean, there's no way that I can see that it's going to benefit people, other than economically in terms of like having people keep their jobs, which is important, I get that. And I, I it's it's very concerning to me, especially for Indian families and children, because they you know, they are most at risk. Let's face it, like the mortality rates are not good for native People here in Montana, and throughout the country. And, and people don't care. And that's, that's the biggest issue that I'm seeing right now is that just people can't even be bothered to wear a mask. And, you know, I just didn't really think that I would live in a day in a time where I would see such vitriol and like hatred, you know, just openly displayed. And maybe, I don't think that's unique to Missoula, or anything like that, but but to see that and to try to be like, oh, let's focus on teaching this class and doing this thing and writing this paper. It's really challenging. And I, I don't, I don't pretend that I'm doing it well, because it's, you know, I think that we're all sort of struggling to, you know, maintain, and it's not about the, well, it is and away, but it shouldn't be about the politics, it should be about saving people's lives, you know, and, and, if we are months away from having wide distribution for a vaccine, then we should wait for that. And, and that's, I think, where I come to, and so this whole thing just seems like, insane, to me. But, you know, again, that's me. And, you know, and having, you know, daughters, and, you know, a nice and who are very, you know, vulnerable to all of this, it's just really makes makes for a difficult thing. So I, you know, I share the concerns about leadership, I think we should all be sort of outraged and angry and concerned right now. Because I don't think this is a time for us to sit back and pretend that nothing's happening, and that people aren't going to lose their lives. Because that's exactly what's happening. And we'll have I mean, that's why I came to compassion. I mean, just as human beings, like, it shouldn't dictate how we breathe and how we, you know, our hearts be and different things that shouldn't have anything to do with politics, and our lung function and whatnot. Like that shouldn't have anything to do with politics, it should have everything to do with common sense, and science and medical literature and medical thought, and, and to see a time where that's like being ostracized and everything. Yeah, I mean, it is it is, and I, I can't support, you know, decisions that are, they're gonna end people's lives. And, and that's what we're proposing. And also, with online learning, I think it can be fine. But most of you know, many of our native families, let's be honest, don't have access the same way to those resources that others do. They don't have great internet connection, they don't have multiple devices. And, um,

Aaron Brien :

well, you bring up a good point about Native families not having a lot of the, what's needed to do this, because we actually ran into that with skcc, not just that what was happening was everyone was just going into the parking lot of a few of the buildings on campus, and using the Wi Fi, which then kind of defeats the purpose of people not being in contact, because everyone is getting out visiting and talking art. If one phone connected better than another, everyone would kind of huddled around that. And then, and then here we are trying to teach a lesson. And then it just seems kind of pointless. I do agree with you. I never really thought about it. But if the vaccine is close, why not just forego and just be an air on this on the side of caution. I like that idea. It would probably never happen. But I like it.

Rob Smith :

I think. I think in this situation, it's a great case study and complexity, and how things are way more complicated. So we go through and we have almost the same day, every day, right? There's some variation, but it's pretty much the same from day to day. But that doesn't mean that life is simple. And it doesn't mean that the things happening, or that could happen are simple either. And what happens is, we kind of get used to being in this rut of every day is the same event something comes out of left field and blast this away, because no one was expecting it. And what it reveals is that the way that we do things on a daily basis, it's not based in reasonable in in science and in medicine and all these things that Andy was talking about. It is based on Well, this is kind of the way I wish things were or let's just assume everything's going to be the same every day. And what happens is we get we make the decisions. And then in the fine print, like Aaron was saying, we got people out in the parking lot, not social distancing. And that's the, the solution. And I think it comes back to the leadership question because not everybody's going to understand, for example, the way the vaccines work the way the vaccine discovery process works. That was a lot of this discussions I was part of in this group that I mentioned, I guess, for the purpose of the podcast, pandemic response. Roundtable, I was a part of last fall before COVID happened. And they're they're a massive challenges in discovering, and testing, and deploying, so even manufacturing vaccines is really hard. It's really hard to get all these pieces together in a way that safe. And in a way that's affordable, is it but but effectiveness is a big problem, too. So it's kind of trifecta. Anyway, the point with this is that in the history of modern science, the fastest vaccine was four years. And that was sort of a miracle when it happened. And it was with a pathogen that was much easier to to solve than COVID. And so, you know, you mix all this together, and you get yourself in some tricky questions that are hard. They don't have easy answers, you have to say, Well, given these constraints that we can't really mitigate, what's the best path forward. And that's when you really need a leader, or a group of leaders, in this case, to stand up and say, Look, looking at all the facts, and looking at the probabilities of what could happen. Here's the best path, and it's gonna hurt a lot of people, but it is the least hurtful path. If you look at it, you know, it's challenging, but if someone's just gonna pretend like it's business as usual, you'll never get to that point. And it'll just create much more suffering.

Salena Hill :

I'm Josh, I realize we're running out of time. And I've also been sucked into everything that you've all been saying, because there's things that you know, I think, because we wake up and do the same thing over and over, we don't sometimes we're not, I'm not stopping and thinking about this kind of stuff. So just to hear all of your perspectives is really important. And, and it's important for other people to, for us to create that space for other people to in our own leadership. So does anybody else have anything to add before we wrap up this session?

Shandin Pete :

Yeah. Thanks. Thanks, Celina, for guiding those important conversations. And, you know, we're just really fortunate to have the opportunity to get a little bit of input from these, these native scholars, these indigenous scholars who are working in the, in the forefront of education of our, of our Native students, both at the university level, and at the tribal college level. And it's important, I guess, you know, really to frame this idea of victory, whether it's a personal victory, or maybe a victory for our communities, or maybe even, you know, just to see a victory, or a small success in the students that we, we interact with, but dumb, either way, you know, we're we're in an odd time right now, where things are not usual. And it's really important to reflect back on those, and also really refocus or really begin to understand that, you know, a victory is, you know, it can be achievable. And it's just something that we have to keep striving toward. And as long as we can understand what that victory might mean, across different institutions, and among different disciplines, that our fellow native scholars have entered into, I think that will make a stronger both as both as native people but also inter tribally because we do work with and work among different tribal groups and with different tribal students. So really important conversation that I wish we had more time to, to engage with these scholars. But again, thank you all for taking the small amount of time to, to impart your wisdom, if you will, or your experiences. And we hope that our listeners will gain something from this and it'll advance us forward as we approach devising this research methodology that's going to work for for our indigenous people and Indigenous students. So again, thank you Thank you for joining us on this episode. And to learn more. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram at IRC s Casey. You can find us also on Facebook and YouTube by searching skcc indigenous Research Center. You can also visit our website at IRC dot s kc.edu. Don't forget to join us next time as we continue our discussions on indigenous research, indigenous research methodologies and indigenous worldviews

Victory Song - Paul Antoine (Salish) - 1932
Part I - Achieving Success: Advice from Indigenous Scholars
Outro