Belize 2015 – B. Nutt

Travel to Belize with the SLC group was my first overseas travel experience and “wow” it met all my expectations plus. Each day was as inspirational as the one before. My first impressions were the heat and the trash along the streets of Belize City, but as we traveled to the Cayo District the natural beauty of the place began to shine through. As the days progressed the beauty of the people began to shine just as bright.

The list of things I enjoyed is long. The things I learned along the way longer. As a science teacher I was excited to explore the biodiversity of the region. To see wild monkeys move through the trees, to see an endangered Toucan in flight, to see iguanas in their natural environment, to see leaf-cutter ants busily moving their bounty along their rainforest highways were all signs that we weren’t in the north woods anymore. Our visit to the Belize Botanical Gardens allowed me to experience the rich diversity of the rainforest, as did explorations around our home base of the Trek Station. Standing below the ginormous Ceiba tree, the sacred tree of the Mayan peoples, at Arenal, was a reminder the role of the “Elder Trees” as they support the plant communities they overshadow. As we learned about the drink of the Mayan rulers, Cacao, I was further reminded of the interdependence of all life on our mother Earth. The cacao needs the shade provided by the Elder Trees to flourish. A tee shirt slogan “Cacoa will save the rainforest” seems both a promise and a prayer.

The most unexpected experience of the trip was a dip in the Macal River. Yes, I was in that canoe, the one that capsized 100 feet from the launch site beginning our 7 mile trip down the river. Though the dip was unexpected, and embarrassing, it was also quite refreshing. It was as if the Creator was reminding me that regardless of age we are gifted each day to live to our fullest. The people of Belize that we encountered seemed to have internalized this lesson. They greeted us with open arms, welcomed us to their homes, gifted us with fresh fruits of many varieties, answered our many questions, and shared openly their cultures and challenges.

I will remember the trip with fondness, and hope as I return to my life of plenty I do not forget the commitments I made to seek ways to make a difference in the lives of those I met as they made a difference in mine.

B. Nutt
SLC Mentor
Oneida Nation High School Science Teacher

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Belize – Charlotte

The Belize trip was a very…emotional journey for me. This entire experience in the Sustainable Leadership Cohort has been an emotional experience because in order for me to do everything, I have to take myself out of my comfort zone; I’m very protective and touchy about my comfort zone too. But I’m glad that I have been able to do that, stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing new things…talking to new people…just getting out is something huge for me. I know how much of a privilege it is to be able to do such a thing, and I thought about that the entire time in Belize – how lucky we were to be able to go to another country and interact with some of the local communities. I thought about how weird it was that such a diverse group of people were able to get along so well, and how we were all able to make connections and grow together. This trip is something that I’ll be talking about for years, years and years until I can vaguely remember how the first time I felt the heat stepping off the plane and how the different faces were looking at us as we drove past them in our van. One of the things that I don’t think I’ll ever forget is how the kids of Arenal looked at us when we first arrived, and how the opening ceremony was just so open. It was like the words personal space weren’t even apart of their dictionaries. The way they embraced our presence was heartwarming because I have never felt so much comfort and appreciation and just overall love in one room – a room full of strangers!
The happiness I felt when I was around everyone, when we were sitting around eating and playing cards, when we were in the talking circle, when we were just laughing and making jokes… is an indescribable happiness that I’ve never felt. In fact, I have never felt happier when I was around everyone. And when I wasn’t involved in any of the activities (which was rarely), I felt happy just hearing the laughter and I felt happy hearing everyone having the time of their lives. The happiness that was radiating off was something you couldn’t ignore, you just couldn’t. Everywhere you went that happiness trailed behind you. I don’t think I could find another word to describe the bliss and contentedness that I felt in Belize. I hope that I won’t forget this feeling, or loose this happiness that took me forever to gain back. That’s also another thing that I will forever thank this great country, was helping me become more…happy. Sure, it might not have been the country itself, but the experience made me happy. The people made me happy.
I canoed for the first time, yes for the first time, down a tropical river. I swam in a tropical river! I’m not sure how many have the ability to say something like that, to say that the first time they canoed was in a tropical river is amazing. Really. I can still remember the day so well, how hot it was and how warm and great the water felt after canoeing for seven miles and how relieved to finally dunk their heads under the water to cool down..it was amazing. Everything we’ve done was amazing, and I think canoeing was probably one of my favorites. Although I’d feel a bit guilty for rating all the things we’ve done I think that I’d give this event a solid nine – and that includes visiting the botanical gardens. It’s funny now, as I’m typing this because looking back on what we’ve all done made me realize again, that we are so privileged to experience something like this. Literally, a once in a lifetime experience and I, along with ten other students were chosen to go on this trip. It just blows me away whenever I hear how lucky we were to be picked. And I’m so happy, so happy because each one of us had a personality trait that contributed to the fact that our trip was so easy and fun. Like everyday I laughed for a solid half hour, I giggled at the little things I’ve overheard and I was dying of laughter with all the mad jokes that were being exchanged.
I also keep reminding myself about how much this trip helped shape my mentality and helped me with breaking the big barriers I had, how different I see the world now. In a way, I feel a little sad. Because I can’t help but think that the group we went with, I might not come across that again. And I’m trying hard not to think like that, I know that when one door closes, another door will open and more opportunities will arise as I get older and as I get into my college studies but this trip…it made me have high expectations for my next abroad trip. My future trips probably won’t compare to this one, especially because this is my first study abroad trip. They will all have to meet the expectations I have set in my mind now, all thanks to this amazing journey with these amazing group of people. I opened up so much to a group of strangers, and it felt great. It felt great too because for once someone listened and we were all so supportive of each other and we listened. Man, that is one thing that I appreciated so much, was all the listening and the attention that was given when someone was presenting. I’ve never had that attention, and to finally experience that is so great – indescribable. Overall, this trip was so amazing. I feel so lucky to have been able to experience this journey, and the people that we have met, and the people in our group have made a special place in my heart. I became more proud of myself, gaining back my confidence that I’ve lost makes me so proud and happy. So much has been discovered and accomplished in one week, and I’m so happy. Happy. Happy. Happy.

As Fall Begins and Winter Approaches…

As fall begins and winter approaches, the POSOH Digital Library is approaching its adolescence. Soon it will begin school at the College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Insitute and become the tool for cultural preservation that it was destined to be.

I have groomed it to the best of my ability. It is now available to the public. Please feel free to visit it (link below) and offer suggestions on improvements and/or helpful additions to its contents.

The POSOH Netāēnawemākanak Unit is available as a full PDF or in parts. POSOH Pīcekan Pemēh Unit will also be available soon.

POSOH Digital Library

Belize by Nicky

The first thing I noticed about Belize when I got off the plane was that it was sweltering hot. You could feel the humidity in the air. The good thing was that that was the only bad thing about our trip to Belize, other than the beetles that were the size of mice. Eventually I adapted to it, (the heat, not the beetles) and the trip was very enjoyable. Everyday was a new experience. One memorable thing was when we had a meeting with a group of student from Guatemala in a town that was cut down the center and split between Belize and Guatemala. Another was going to the ancient Mayan ruins of Xunantunich (Za-Nan-Too-Nitch). Also, I can’t leave out visiting the local towns and villages, eating at the local restaurants and visiting the local shops. The one thing that was the most fun was playing with the baby iguanas. We also got to see many exotic animals and experience Belize from the water when we canoed down the Macal River.

My favorite memory that I had from the trip was probably when my brother and I played our instruments with the Marimba group. Jacob banged on the drums that were provided to him, the founder of the Marimba group struck every piece of wood with his mallets to get a rich, vibrant sound from the wooden instrument, and I played my saxophone, reaching every new note giving it the smooth, alto sound. Together, all three of us blended together perfectly as we played a version on Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk. I enjoyed it because it was a great cultural exchange, to share and blend music with people from a whole different world. It was especially amazing since the Marimba Leader just learned how to play the piece in 1 minute.

The overall trip was a great experience, from learning Mayan Traditions to explaining ours to the locals, it was very memorable. It was very sad to say goodbye.

 

 

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Working with Teachers and Students on Digital Media Projects

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With the August POSOH Tribal School Educators Institute in the recent past, I cannot help but think of the similarities between the high school youth I was fortunate enough to work with and some of their educators. Fresh off of working with the youth I was lucky enough to aid in a similar process with many of their teachers. Science and Art teachers from local indigenous school who were able to attend the POSOH professional development made three to five minute videos for their students.

Walking into the computer lab I had expected things to be very different with the teachers. In reality, the teachers asked many of the same questions the students asked, had many of the same complaints the students had, and enjoyed many of the same facets to video production as the students enjoyed. They even looked the same, slouched over their computers with just the tops of their head visible during their editing process. READ MORE…

 

 

How to Find Resources in the POSOH Digital Library

POSOH Digital Library

All resources created by the POSOH Project or used to create the POSOH Project are available to view without a login; however, in order to add a comment to a resource, the user needs to have a login and password.

To become an authenticated user, click on the “Log In” tab. Then click on “Create new account”. Fill out your information – “Group membership” is not necessary – and click on the “Create new account” button. The site administrator will review your request within 48 hours.

Options for Browsing & Searching the POSOH Digital Library

Browse by Collection

To browse by Collection, either click on the “Browse Collections” tab and choose a collection, or click on the “Search & Browse Library” tab and then choose a collection from the right hand column under the “Collection” section. Once a collection is chosen, all items that are a part of the collection will show on the left side of your screen. From here, you can browse through the items and choose which one(s) you would like to see closer by clicking on the title of the item. If this is done from the “Search & Browse Library” tab, you can winnow your browsing down further by choosing a Community, Category, Subject, and/or Resource Type.

The “Additional Act 31 Resources” Collection items contain links to a full record for the item found on WorldCat.org. Each item also gives the ISBN if there is one for that item, so that you can look the item up on your local library website and check out the physical copy if it is available. These are resources that were used in the POSOH Project to create curricula, but were not created by the POSOH Project, so we are not able to display the entire resource in all cases.

Search & Browse Library

To search and browse the entire digital library, click on the “Search & Browse Library” tab. On this page, you will see the full list of items found in the digital library on the left side of the page. You can scan through this list and look closer at an item by clicking on the title of the item. As more resources are added to the digital library, this option will become more time consuming, so there are two other ways to find a resource.

You can use the search bar on the right side of the screen. This search bar will search title and keyword. At this time, the items you will find using this option are slightly limited. Using the checklists below the search bar might be a better option if you are having difficulty finding items using the search bar.

As explained in the “Browse by Collection” section, the right side of the “Search & Browse Library” page contains lists that you can choose from in order to find a resource. The options here are Collection, Community, Category, Subject, and Resource Type. You can choose options from more than one list and more than one option within each list. When you choose an option within a list, the list will narrow to show you what options are available within the option you have chosen. For instance, if you choose the “POSOH Instructional Aids” option under the “Category” list, the options under each list narrow. If you then check the “Agriculture” box under “Subject”, there will be one item listed on the left side of the screen.

If you would like to start a fresh search, click “Reset” under the search bar on the right side of the screen.

POSOH Digital Library Workshop

From June 22-24, 2015, we held a gathering at Science House in Madison to discuss the best way to proceed with cataloging POSOH resources and also to catalogue a number of the resources in the POSOH Digital Library.

Only half of us have had experience with Mukurtu prior to this meeting, so I presented on Mukurtu 2.0 the first day, explaining the structure of Mukurtu and possibilities for entering information about the resources (or as they are called in Mukurtu, digital heritage items). As a group, we then discussed the best way to proceed. We decided which information might be useful to education professionals so that  the digital heritage items would be easily retrievable. It was quite an in depth conversation, but by the end of the first day, we had a plan for action. Before ending for the day, we catalogued a digital heritage item as a group so everyone could see the process within the Mukurtu platform.

During part of the first day, Hedi and I also worked on changing certain parts of the Drupal side of the POSOH Digital Library. Mukurtu 2.0 is built on a foundation of Drupal. We are still having some difficulty with some aspects  of the Drupal side of the digital library, but we were able to get a couple of issues fixed that first day.

The second and third day were spent adding digital heritage items to the POSOH Digital Library. There was discussion throughout when issues came up or when there was a question as to what items went together or with an aspect of Mukurtu 2.0.

This was an incredible learning experience for everyone involved. I think we all learned that cataloging resources takes time and thought. There are many aspects to think about, especially when there are many resources related to one another and with similar subject matter. Many decisions had to be made about vocabulary to be used and rights statements, among others.

We also had fun meeting up to work outside of the office in the evenings. I hope the workshop was as rewarding for everyone else as it was for me.

 

Mukurtu 2.0 is Here!

It’s official! We have Mukurtu 2.0 installed and we are working on adding content. Our goal is to have it open to educators and other interested parties by the end of June.

There was a bit of a struggle at first because we were missing search and browse functions. We spent a few days trying to figure this out on our end, but then contacted Kelley with CoDA (Center for Digital Archaeology). She sent us some technical information that was tremendously helpful in figuring out the missing pieces, and now it feels as though we have the outside border of the puzzle complete. Now I am beginning the work on the inside pieces.

I’ve started adding content in order to test out the parameters of Mukurtu 2.0. There are a few new functions that are wonderful! There is a new level of organization in the Collections option. We are now able to not only organize digital heritage items within communities, but also within collections. This is a feature I was missing in the other version and I am very thankful that it is part of the new version.

Mukurtu 2.0 runs on a foundation of Drupal, which is a content management system. I had not worked with Drupal other than working with the other version of Mukurtu. With that version, most of the background stuff such as menus and structure were set up already, so I didn’t have a reason to dig into those areas. With the new version, however, I have gotten down to the closest thing to bare bones without digging into the actual code of the website.

The last two days have been many things – inspirational, enlightening, and downright fun! It’s a great pleasure to learn, especially when the fear of breaking things starts to fade away!

 

Time is running out…register for a POSOH PD Institute today!

Summer 2015 is the last time POSOH is able to offer professional development for its new, place-based, culturally relevant science units. Click on the link below to access the brochure for our Biodiversity & Sustainabilty Unit and Energy Transformation & Sustainability Unit.

finalPDBrochure 2015 v2

POSOH is also offering a special, one-time PD opportunity specifically for educators serving Native American students in public, tribal, or boarding schools on or near reservations. Click here to access the brochure: finalTribal School PDBrochure 2015v2

Click on the links below to register for one or more POSOH Summer Institutes:

Biodiversity & Sustainabilty Unit, June 15-18

Energy Transformation & Sustainability, June 22-25

Tribal School Educators’ Institute, August 3-7

 

 

POSOH presents at the 2015 WIEA Conference

On April 10, POSOH Project staff presented at the annual WIEA (Wisconsin Indian Education Association) Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Linda Orie and Justin Gauthier described efforts of the POSOH Project, focusing on how POSOH supports cultural connections and responsiveness through teacher professional development. As part of this 2015 POSOH WIEA presentation, POSOH Staff featured Continuing Professional Development, an original video by Reynaldo Morales (POSOH Project), which includes footage from a recent POSOH PD follow-up session. Click here to access the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KruFvU5CFBk

The POSOH model for teacher professional development focuses largely on supporting non-Native teachers who work with Native students to be able to make connections with their own and others’ cultures, strengthening and deepening their teaching practice. One key strategy used by POSOH is having three or four individuals co-facilitate the teachers’ learning experience. By using diverse co-facilitation teams for teacher professional development, POSOH is able to involve a combination of science educators and local Tribal members who may have minimal formal education experience, yet bring a critical cultural component to the work. At the WIEA conference, POSOH shared experiences using this model and the effects PD facilitators have witnessed with teacher participants.

In addition, Amy Gauthier shared information about the Mukurtu digital library of culturally relevant resources that POSOH is developing for sharing with teachers and others interested in preserving and utilizing Native American knowledge. Mukurtu is a newly-developed and specialized digital library software program that is designed for Indigenous People as a solution for controlling shareability of cultural knowledge and artifacts.