Research and Education

The Cosmic

IEI specializes in programs related to Indigenous research and education.


We are currently involved in research and education (coming to knowing) in the following areas:


Indigenous Science: IEI conducts research in Indigenous science including: Navajo astronomy; Cherokee astronomy; Juxtapositions of western and Indigenous science with focus on cross-cultural space science and astronomy; Indigenous astronomy around the world; Navajo physics, Indigenous ecology; Local to global environmental balance; Indigenous practices for sustainability; GPS technology.


Example Activities:

  • Sharing the Skies,
    an educational resource book featuring Navajo, Greek, and NASA Space Science worldviews is based on more than 20 years of research following Indigenous protocol and traditional
    western research methods.
  • AISES-Sponsored Research Conferences, design and implementation of two conferences, at Dine College (formerly Navajo Community College) (Navajo Nation) and in Anchorage, Alaska on the Astronomies, Origins, and Migration of Athabaskan Peoples (Apache, Navajo, Alaskan and Canadian Athabaskan).
  • AISES-Sponsored with Vine Deloria, Jr. Sponsored, by invitation, Research Conference on Indigenous Astronomy, pioneering support and participation.

Indigenous Dissertation Archive: Archive of Seminal Work in Indigenous Practice.
Dissertations by IEI Board Members (To order, please contact IEI)

  • “Nanit’a Sa’ah Naaghai, Nanit’a Bikeh Hozho,” (Living the Order: The Dynamic Cosmic Process of Dine Cosmology), D. H. Begay and N. C. Maryboy, Doctoral Dissertation (1998).
    California Institute of Integral Studies.
  • “Models of Business,” by VerlieAnn Malina-Wright, Doctoral Dissertation, UCLA
  • “The Seven Levels of Conscience of the River People,” Lloyd B. Pinkham, Doctoral Dissertation (1998). California Institute of Integral Studies.
  • “Mending the Web: Conflict Transformation Between Aboriginal and Non-Indigenous Australians,” P. O. Walker, Doctoral Dissertation (2001). University of Queensland, Australia.

Indigenous Teaching and Learning: Utilizing effective practice in Indigenous education, IEI researchers and educators engage diverse audiences with Indigenous learning styles using a holistic Indigenous pedagogy in a variety of settings including: Reservation schools, Native Hawaiian Immersion Schools, Native American educational leadership institutes, informal education settings such as museums and community centers, Indigenous higher education institutions, mainstream scientists interested in exploring diverse worldviews of science, and other Indigenous and mainstream education and research


Example Activities:

  • Dome shows and presentations with NASA Goddard at STAR School and Puente de Hozho School, Flagstaff, AZ, 2013.
  • Professional development workshops for Cosmic Serpent museum personnel participants, in the Southwest, Northwest, and California regions (2008-2013).
  • Dialogues between Indigenous Knowledge Holders and Scientists (1992-2006) sponsored by Fetzer Institute (Banff, Canada), Center for Particle Astrophysics (UC Berkeley),
    and SEED Graduate Institute (Albuquerque, NM) – Dialogues on the Intersection of Western Science and Indigenous Ways of Knowing.
  • Tribal College Science Classes at Dine College (formerly Navajo Community College); North West Indian College; and Southwest Polytechnic Institute (SIPI).
  • K-12 Science Classes at Union Gap Elementary School, Union Gap, WA; and Kula Kaipuni O Anuenue (Native Hawaiian Immersion School), Honolulu Hawaii.
  • SEED Graduate Institute (Albuquerque, NM), Indigenous Science Workshop Design and Implementation.
  • One Earth, One Universe professional development for NASA scientists and educators on multi-cultural perspectives of science.
  • Workshops for Informal educators at Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conferences.
  • Professional Development on Traditional Indigenous uses of GIS/GPS technologies; NSF Eagle Vision Grant.
  • Professional development workshops to science teachers and students of Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.
  • Workshops for Educators, School Boards, and Administrators including New Mexico Science Teachers; Utah Science Teachers, Utah Title 7 Teachers, Navajo Nation Science Teachers, and NASA Explorer Schools.
  • Presentations and use of the Starlab to K-12 schools, Museums, and Community Centers at national and international professional conferences such as AISES (Anchorage, Houston) WIPCE (Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia), ASP (Baltimore, St. Louis), NIEA (Albuquerque, Honolulu), CoSpar (Committee on Space Research) Beijing, China, etc.
  • Presentations in full dome planetariums on digitized Navajo Astronomy at national and international conferences such as International Planetary Society (IPS) Annual Conference, Adler Planetarium, Chicago, 2008, World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE), Melbourne, Australia, 2008.

Educational Product Development: IEI develops educational products for the classroom and for informal education venues, such as museums and planetaria, taking into account a multi-cultural perspective of science and other content.



Use of Technology for Indigenous Education: IEI designs various technology-rich teaching and learning resources, including: Distance learning courses; Use of the Internet to teach with culturally compatible styles and culturally relevant curriculum; Development of indigenous resources for use in informal settings such as museums and planetaria, etc.


Example Activities:

  • Portable Planetarium (Sky-Skan)
    Digital Planetarium and Program
  • Northern Arizona University Indigenous Astronomy online Distance Learning Course: “Introduction to Indigenous Astronomy” on comparative astronomy as seen through the eyes of Indigenous peoples and western astronomers. The course provides an introduction to ancient and living astronomies of native cultures.
    The course is provided through Northern Arizona University’s Distance Learning program.Introduction to Indigenous Astronomy Logo
  • “Traditional Indigenous Uses of GIS/GPS Technologies.” Curriculum development for NSF Eagle Vision Grant, BIA Teachers and Students, delivered at Laguna Pueblo Department of Education
  • Mixed media presentations to national and international professional conferences, e.g. AISES, NIEA, WIPCE, COSPAR, ASP, CASTS, etc.

Indigenous Language and Culture Preservation with Application: Navajo high language and consciousness, Navajo cosmology, Application of Navajo cosmology to contemporary educational and community settings, Navajo healing philosophies, Navajo psychology. Navajo cultural work is done in consultation with Navajo Medicine Men Association. Other work in areas of language and culture preservation include: work with Native Hawaiian immersion schools, Yakama Nation culture presentations, Cherokee Nation culture presentations, Conflict Resolution and Transformation from Indigenous perspective.


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