Sustainability Leadership Cohort Attends WIEA Conference

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The Sustainability Leadership Cohort (SLC) season officially began with a trip to the Wisconsin Indian Education Association’s (WIEA) conference in Milwaukee the weekend of April 9th-April 12th, 2015. This was the first formal gathering of this summer’s cohort members. Along with staff from the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), the students headed south for what would be a weekend of learning, fun, networking, good food, and new experiences.

To read more, go to >>>SDI’s Webpage

Mukurtu Workshop April 14, 2015

On Tuesday, April 14, I led a Mukurtu workshop in the SLIS (School of Library and Information Studies) Computer Lab. This was my first time leading a workshop, and although the audience included just a handful of people, it was a great group and we were able to have a comfortable, in-depth conversation about Mukurtu.

I started the workshop by giving a small presentation (PowerPoint attached below) on the POSOH Project , the origins of Mukurtu, and the future of the POSOH Digital Library. We then walked through some aspects of Mukurtu together, created a Community together, created a Cultural Protocol together, and then each of us attempted to create a digital heritage item.

I made the mistake of  using TIFFs rather than JPEGs for the digital heritage items I had planned for participants to use during the workshop. The files were too large and the system got clogged up, causing difficulty with the hands on portion. I was the only one who was able to upload my picture in a reasonable amount of time (less than five minutes). We ended up going through the process together with me in the driver’s seat. This hiccup didn’t affect the results of the workshop. We all ended up having a great discussion about the different aspects of Mukurtu. It was a truly rewarding experience.

Things I learned from this experience:

  • Use JPEGs rather than TIFFs for workshop images to be used to create digital heritage item
  • Practice uploading items to the SLIS computers beforehand
  • Go through the workshop a couple of times beforehand, practice, practice, practice
  • Bring handouts

There are always improvements to be made and I look forward to adjusting the workshop for the next time. I am hoping to have another workshop at the end of May 2015 in order to showcase the newest version of Mukurtu, Mukurtu 2.0. Stay tuned for more information!

Here is the PowerPoint from the workshop: POSOH Digital Library Presentation – Workshop copy

Please contact me with any questions: amgauthier@wisc.edu

APPLY NOW! The Sustainability Leadership Cohort is now accepting applications for 2015 program.

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The Sustainability Leadership Cohort Program (SLC) is led by the College of Menominee Nation’s Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) in collaboration with its POSOH partners. The Program is committed to respecting cultural values and encouraging holistic thinking. SLC will provide students the tools and skills to be innovative leaders and positive change agents for people and our planet. The SLC will provide a hands-on, non-lecture style environment that allows students to discover, question, explore, communicate, and Science/Math/Technology-related fields in an unconventional manner that promotes critical thinking and leadership skills.

Applications are due March 13th, 2015

  Find Application Here 

POSOH Professional Development Institute Information: Summer 2015

Act now to sign up for POSOH’s final teacher professional development summer institutes! On June 15-18, POSOH is offering PD for the Biodiversity & Sustainability Unit at the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin. The following week, POSOH will hold PD for the Energy Transformation & Sustainability Unit at the CESA 8 building in Gillett, Wisconsin. On August 3-7, POSOH will wrap up the summer with the Tribal School Educators’ Institute at the College of Menominee Nation, which will include PD for all of POSOH’s Units for teachers working in tribal schools, tribal boarding schools, or public schools serving Indian reservations. All participants who complete at least one institute will receive a stipend, materials needed to teach the unit(s), and the option to purchase graduate credits. Click below to download the brochures for more information and to pass along to colleagues.

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Please click on the links below to sign up for the POSOH Professional Development Institutes to be held this coming summer:

Biodiversity & Sustainability, June 15-18

Energy Transformation & Sustainability, June 22-25

Tribal School Educators’ Institute August 3-7

 

A New Year Begins

As the new year commences, I am readying myself for the spring semester. Having acquired new skills during last semester’s courses, I am putting them to use by creating a manual for metadata creation for the POSOH Digital Library. I am also beginning plans for upcoming conferences: organizing thoughts and information to be included in a poster and PowerPoint presentation. I am looking forward to a new webinar series to start this month that will enhance our working knowledge of Mukurtu by presenting us with opportunities for deeper interaction with it.

I would also like to acknowledge that as the POSOH and TLAM groups come together once again, congratulations are in order to those who have moved on from the University of Wisconsin – Madison: Justin Gauthier and Lotus Norton-Wisla. Justin graduated with his B.A. in December and will be continuing work with the POSOH Project this summer and Lotus has been hired to work with the Mukurtu group at Washington State University. Congratulations to you both!

 

SDI’s Youth Speak Event Honors Young Talent

On the evening of Friday, December 5th, POSOH and SDI held the Youth Speak Event to honor the student members of the Sustainability Leadership Cohort (SLC) and other tribal youth groups. The Menominee high school theater was used for the event to create more of a movie premiere feeling. To start the evening off right, Andrew Warrington gave thanks for the meal with a prayer. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed food provided by Tsyunhehkwa of Oneida and Babcock Dairy Store at UW-Madison.

Then it was on to the theater for the night’s presentations. Sustainability Education Coordinator, Cherie Thunder, welcomed the audience and gave a short introduction to the SLC. Fawn Youngbear-Tibbetts, Indigenous Arts and Sciences Coordinator of Northern Wisconsin, spoke briefly on the Bad River Tribal Youth Media Project and The Chi Nations Youth Council, American Indian Center of Chicago. Reynaldo Morales communicated the importance of the use of media and technology in community-based action research projects. Justin Gauthier, UW-Madison student, spoke about how working with the students over the summer impacted him. There were a few technical difficulties early in the night, but once the problem was resolved, the show continued. Unfortunately we were unable to show the video Ms. Youngbear-Tibbetts introduced.

The SLC’s baby, “Food for Thought”, was a wonderful collaboration between students, CMN staff, and community members. The video focused on healthy eating and food preparation and was both educational and fun. Community members and CMN staff were took part, also, by sharing their knowledge and insight on traditional food and harvesting of the Menominee.  Afterwards, Cherie handed certificates out to the students for completion of the program and the students spoke about what they liked and what they learned from their time as SLC members.

Audience members were able to ask questions of the participants in a brief Q & A session before the night ended. When asked if they have maintained the choices they made in the film as far as eating healthy, for example, Mylia Olson said she has tried to eat healthier, drinks water, and has discussed eating healthy and what she learned with family and friends. Another question was about dissemination of what was learned through POSOH and the video. Lorenzo Warrington replied, “I think we should present in front of the Menominee Tribal Legislature, it seems once they know about it so will everyone else. We should present at events during school hours.” After watching the film, one student’s mom went out and bought a juicer. A clear indication of the positive impact the SLC and “Food for Thought” has made on people’s lives.

All in all, it was a successful presentation with rave reviews from the audience commenting just how much they enjoyed the show and thanking the students for their hard work and dedication. Dave Grignon, Director of Menominee Historic Preservation, said, “I hope this work continues and that students continue traditions mentioned in the show.” Chris Caldwell, Director of SDI, mentioned, “The last year of the POSOH grant is approaching, but SDI and UW-Madison Partners are making efforts to keep it going.” After witnessing the impact POSOH has on students, staff, and community, I think the outlook is promising.

The application for the SLC will be available online soon!

 

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Mukurtu Site Building

A couple of weeks ago, Omar, Lotus, and I attended the Mukurtu Site Building webinar to learn some of the background aspects of the current version of Mukurtu. The webinar was two hours, but it felt like it could have been a day long workshop. Kelley Shanahan led us on a tour of Mukurtu’s backstage, showing us secret passageways and hidden windows into it. We were intrigued. There is so much that can be done with it as it is, we are shivering with anticipation to get a look at the newer version coming out in the beginning of next year! For now, I’ll talk a little bit about what the current version is able to do.

One of the main aspects we focused in on was the ability to do a batch upload. This allows digital heritage items to be uploaded to the Mukurtu site as large groups, rather than adding each one individually. It is, in the long run, a great time saver. The basic process is to have a group of media items, such as pictures, with simply formatted file names, which are then uploaded onto the site. If you are starting from scratch, you might upload also your chosen categories, cultural protocols, and communities as a second step. However, if you have these in place on your site, you can move on to step three, which is to produce a CSV (Comma Separated Values). This is a spreadsheet, produced on Google Docs, that is filled out with information regarding the media that has been uploaded, information (metadata) such as, title, creator, contributors, cultural narrative, etc. Once this is filled out as completely as possible, it can be uploaded and the process is complete. The media and the information from the CSV connect to create digital heritage items on your site.

We attempted to work out this process after the webinar for a couple of hours, but we were having some issues with getting the media to connect to the CSV. After two hours, we had to stop due to other commitments, but Omar was able to get it to work later that day when he realized that the spreadsheet had to be made on Google docs and not on Excel. It is amazing how one small detail can halt the process! That is technology, though. It is great when you have all of the pieces in place and everything connects! A big thanks to Omar for sticking to it and figuring it out!

Undergraduate Student Experience at FALCON.

On the weekend of Nov. 8th and 9th I attended the FALCON conference in Minneapolis, MN with a small group from SDI and POSOH. I looked forward to the weekend because it sounded interesting and exciting. Upon check-in we noticed there were students from North Dakota checking-in and I thought it was cool to see representatives from other Nations attending. Bright and early Saturday morning the presentations started. The topics varied from Land Use Impacts on Water Quality on White Earth Nation to Estimates of Logging Slash from Flathead Reservation Forest Harvests, and from Aquaponics Research to Digital Technologies in our own POSOH Project presented by our very own Reynaldo Morales.

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All the presentations were educational, informational, and interesting. I enjoyed listening to the speakers, some of who seemed to have years of experience getting up in front of large audiences, and it was encouraging to see them so passionate and enjoying what they were doing.  Sunday morning I had the pleasure of listening to a speech by a gentleman, Phil Baird, TCU President, from the United Tribes Technical College. It was a most heartfelt and stirring speech because he has been involved with Native American education and tradition and culture restoration for many years. It was a great start to the day that would soon be filled with interesting workshops. By this time we were made aware of the coming snow storm expected to hit by that evening. Now we needed to make the decision to stay and finish the conference through Monday, or call it a day after the POSOH presentation and head home ahead of the storm. Nobody wanted to be snowed-in for an extra day, so we packed up and hit the road immediately after the presentation.

Although we had to leave early because of the winter storm, I couldn’t have been more happy about my time at FALCON. This was my first time attending a conference and I learned so much more than I anticipated. I met a few people from different parts of the country and from other Native American Colleges. The experience was amazing and I am so glad and honored I was able to be part of it. I had no idea there was such interest, time, and work going into saving the environment and restoring our culture and traditions. The people hosting the conference and the participants were all so friendly and helpful. The presenters were all willing to tell you about their fight, their cause and they were all so knowledgeable. It was evident they put their hearts into their research and presentations.  It was inspiring to see such dedication to, and compassion for, their individual projects. ~CMN POSOH Intern

Mukurtu 2.0

On October 22, 2014, I attended a webinar in the current Mukurtu webinar series hosted by CoDA (Center of Digital Archaeology). The special guests were members of Kanopi Studios, who are working to bring Mukurtu to the next level of content management systems. During the webinar, we were introduced to upcoming features of Mukurtu, including additional features regarding digital heritage items, such as being able to click and drag an  item into the system. Another new feature has to do with what they call an “asset”. This is a foundational item that is then added to one or more digital heritage items. With this feature, the user is able to then make changes to the asset and all digital heritage items associated with that particular asset will automatically adjust to the change(s) made to the asset. Other new features include the ability to add audio and video files. Previously, these were only able to be added via the Mukurtu site, having been recorded directly from the site. One other feature that was talked about is small but substantial. Currently, when a user has limited access, they are still able to see all of the options available to a user with a higher level of access to changes on the site. If the user with a lower level of access were to click on an option unavailable to them, they would receive a message stating that they do not have access to this option. With Mukurtu 2.0, a user will only see the options available at their level of access, saving them frustration in the long run.

It was great to see the new changes coming up in January. This will be the version our digital library will live in, so it was like getting a sneak preview of a house that is being built for you. I am excited to begin using the new system and am hoping that we will be able to become test-users for the new CMS as it becomes available for testing.

Follow-up Session for Summer 2014 Professional Development Participants will be held December 6, 2014

On Saturday, December 6, from 9:00-3:30, POSOH will hold a follow-up session for our 2014 Summer Professional Development participants who attended one or more POSOH institutes in summer 2014. The follow-up session will be held at CESA 8, in Gillett, Wisconsin, the same place where the summer institutes were held. Participants are reminded to please bring student work and be prepared to discuss teaching of POSOH curricula over the last few months. To receive the remaining portion of the stipend, all participants must attend this very important follow-up session on December 6. We look forward to hearing about your experiences teaching all or part of the new curricula, and your feedback will be especially helpful for the upcoming field tests of the Grade 8 and Grade 9 Units. See you there!