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Traditional ecological knowledge connections at Central Wyoming College’s Alpine Science Institute

Traditional ecological knowledge connections at Central Wyoming College’s Alpine Science Institute

(Riverton, WY) ‒ On Friday, September 30, 2022, Central Wyoming College students and staff will commemorate the cultural significance of the Alpine Science Institute with a day of cedaring, song and recognition of our tribal student accomplishments with local Native American leaders.

The celebration will commence with cedaring by the Eagle Society members. Central Wyoming College’s Tribal Education Services Coordinator Ivan Posey will serve as the master of ceremonies. Posey launched Central Wyoming College’s Tribal Wisdom Society last year introducing students to the contributions of tribal people and communities across the West through governance, history and contemporary issues. Traditional songs will be performed by the Little Brave singers coordinated by Salem Ynostrosa, a CWC student.

Dr. Tarissa Spoonhunter, Central Wyoming College’s Professor of Indigenous Studies, William C’Hair, Arapaho Language & Culture Commission and Wyman Weed Sr., Shoshone THPO Advisor will share Traditional Ecological Knowledge with students.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge refers to the evolving knowledge acquired by indigenous and local peoples over hundreds or thousands of years through direct contact with the environment. This knowledge is specific to a location and includes the relationships between plants, animals, natural phenomena, landscapes and timing of events that are used for lifeways, including but not limited to hunting, fishing, trapping, agriculture, and forestry.

Central Wyoming College student Zariah June, AISES Leadership Summit Rising Leader will be at the ceremony along with alum Antoine Day and student Darious Tillman, member of the Tribal Wisdom Society. June won the Rising Leader award for active participation in the American Indians in Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Leadership Summit.

AISES highlights geographic, economic and social aspects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers in order to broaden the workforce. Zariah June was the Aldinger Fellow for 2020-2021. She is also a member of the Tribal Wisdom Society.

“At CWC, we are proud of our partnership with the two Wind River tribes and we deeply value all their contributions – for TEK and beyond. Here at the beautiful CWC mountain site, this outdoor classroom is a place where we gladly welcome our tribal communities. Together we are stronger and our future more bright,” says President Brad Tyndall.

“Through our Bachelor of Applied Science Degree we are really trying to make the connections utilizing the resources we have at CWC and the Wind River Reservation to make academia relevant to our tribal students in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). Traditional Ecological Knowledge is essential to ASI and the state of Wyoming where the tribes have treaty rights on public lands for hunting, fishing and gathering. We look forward to having conversations and collaborations to make ASI essential to tribal educators, students and community members as a resource for innovation in programming and outreach,” explained Dr. Tarissa Spoonhunter, lead faculty for CWC’s Native American
Indigenous Studies program now director of the High Plains American Indian Research Institute.

The Alpine Science Institute serves as a model for environmental stewardship featuring solar paneled buildings, a recycling program, and a composting facility. It’s a living, learning field school for Outdoor Education, Outdoor Recreation, Geospatial Science, Expedition Science, and CWC’s Regenerative Small Scale Farm Incubator. Open to the
community, the ASI grounds feature hiking and mountain biking trails in addition to classroom facilities and student housing. The center sits on lands important to the tribes who traversed the area for millennia, and continues to support the ecosystem home to valuable traditional plants.

Central Wyoming College is designated as a Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution (NASNTI), and serves the largest American Indian student population in the state of Wyoming.

WHAT: Traditional Ecological Connections at Central Wyoming College’s Alpine Science Institute
WHEN: Friday, September 30, 2022, 9:30 a.m. -12 p.m.
WHERE: Central Wyoming College’s Alpine Science Institute, 50 Field Station Rd, Lander, Wyoming