Racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in the United States. This library guide seeks to center the voices and lived experiences of people of color (POC) in STEM.
"The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is a national, nonprofit organization focused on substantially increasing the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers."
"SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science."
"The premiere organization advocating for educational excellence, opportunity, and equity for Native students, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) advances comprehensive educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States."
"NASEP is a year-long program designed to provide Native American, Alaskan Native, and Hawaiian Native high school students with a vision of a career in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) field; connects students with academic professionals and industry representatives from STEM-related interests; and catalyze the student's motivation to complete chemistry, physics, and pre-calculus before graduating high school."
"Our objective is to effect a systemic change in the hiring patterns of Indigenous Americans in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by increasing the number of individuals on a career path to leadership in STEM fields."
"Our mission is to provide assistance, opportunities, and community for students to excel in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Comprehensive support involving outreach, recruitment, retention and placement strategies aim to increase the number of qualified individuals on a successful path to leadership in community, industry, and academia."
"This curriculum is an attempt to counter all of these other factors, by showing how Indigenous traditions are based on a solid understanding and description of natural phenomena. Our goal is to avoid romantic cliches and characterizations of Indian people and their traditional knowledge and to present this knowledge as well documented but different in approach from "Western science." These traditions are based on connection to the natural world, rather than separation from nature--in other words we are working with a science based on relationships, reciprocity and respect rather than solely on exploitation and economic concerns."
"Education among American Indians has lagged behind that of almost all other groups in both the United States and Canada, and it generally has not offered what Indian communities need. It is this disturbing state of affairs; along with the intractable realities, unexamined assumptions, and cultural conflicts and misunderstandings behind it; that Science and Native American Communities confronts. Representing an unprecedented gathering of Native American professionals working in the sciences and advanced technology, the book combines theory and practice, firsthand experience and strategic thinking, in a provocative exploration of the uneasy meeting ground between science and Native American communities. In highly personal, deeply informed, and frequently moving essays, the authors wrestle with a legacy of mistrust and violence. They ask: Is a common ground between science and Native America possible? The problems and prospects that emerge from such a meeting, and that these essays address, include the impact of science and technology on Native lands and environment; economic and technological opportunities and challenges for reservation communities; and the differences and similarities between Native and scientific thought and practice. The authors not only showcase different reactions to the consequences of science, but also energetically propose strategies for renegotiating Native communities' relationships with science, seizing control of their destinies, and moving forward in the twenty-first century."
By Natalia Gutierrez-Pinto at the Idaho Statesman, published August 15, 2020.
"The Idaho Statesman talked to three scientists coming from Idaho’s First Nations in an effort to learn about their perspectives and increase their visibility."
By Jennifer Leman at Popular Mechanics, published October 14, 2019.
"From the first Native American physician to a steadfast youth climate activist to a NASA astronaut, these seven indigenous pioneers have paved an inspiring path."
By Women of Silicon Valley on Medium, published November 29, 2017.
"Women of Silicon Valley asked Native folks of all genders in STEM to share their stories with our followers, and 18 scientists, technologists, and educators (very generously) obliged."
Indian Country Today, published March 26, 2013.
"Born on August 9, 1908 in Oklahoma, Ross was the first female and the only Native American engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Burbank, California during the Space Race."
By Trisha Parayil and Bayleigh Murray, published October 17, 2019.
"the history of science is incomplete without acknowledging the voices of scientists that are silenced by systematic biases. In celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct. 14, here are just a few notable scientists and inventors of Native American heritage."
Biographies in Print
A Warrior of the People by Joe Starita
Publication Date: 2018-07-10
"On March 14, 1889, Susan La Flesche received her medical degree--becoming the first Native American doctor in U.S. history. She earned her degree thirty-one years before women could vote and thirty-five years before Indians could become citizens in their own country. By age twenty-six, this indomitable Native woman became the doctor to her tribe. Overnight, she acquired 1,244 patients scattered across 850 square miles of rolling countryside with few roads, often desperately poor and desperately sick, whose last hope was a young woman who spoke their language and knew their customs.This is the story of an Indian woman who effectively became the chief of an entrenched patriarchal tribe, the story of a woman who crashed through thick walls of ethnic, racial and gender prejudice, then spent the rest of her life using a unique bi-cultural identity to improve the lot of her people--physically, emotionally, politically, and spiritually. A Warrior of the People is the moving biography of Susan La Flesche's inspirational life, and it will finally shine a light on her numerous accomplishments."
Native American Doctor: The Story of Susan La Flesche Picotte by Jeri Chase Ferris
Call Number: Search Inter-Library Loan
Publication Date: 1991-11-01
"A biography of the young Omaha Indian woman who became the first Native American woman to graduate from medical school." Amazon.com
"A compilation of biographical and bibliographical information on more than 265 outstanding Native North American men and women throughout history. Each signed narrative essay covers a prominent individual from politics, law, journalism, science, medicine, religion, art and literature, athletics, education, or entertainment. The book includes includes a listing of entries according to tribal group or nation plus a listing of entries according to occupation or tribal roles."
"This A-Z reference contains 275 biographical entries on Native American women, past and present, from many different walks of life. Written by more than 70 contributors, most of whom are leading American Indian historians, the entries examine the complex and diverse roles of Native American women in contemporary and traditional cultures. This new edition contains 32 new entries and updated end-of-article bibliographies. Appendices list entries by area of woman's specialization, state of birth, and tribe; also includes photos and a comprehensive index."
The Scalpel and the Silver Bear by Lori Alvord; Elizabeth Cohen Van Pelt
Publication Date: 2000-06-06
"The first Navajo woman surgeon combines western medicine and traditional healing. A spellbinding journey between two worlds, this remarkable book describes surgeon Lori Arviso Alvord's struggles to bring modern medicine to the Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico--and to bring the values of her people to a medical care system in danger of losing its heart. Dr. Alvord left a dusty reservation in New Mexico for Stanford University Medical School, becoming the first Navajo woman surgeon. Rising above the odds presented by her own culture and the male-dominated world of surgeons, she returned to the reservation to find a new challenge. In dramatic encounters, Dr. Alvord witnessed the power of belief to influence health, for good or for ill. She came to merge the latest breakthroughs of medical science with the ancient tribal paths to recovery and wellness, following the Navajo philosophy of a balanced and harmonious life, called Walking in Beauty. And now, in bringing these principles to the world of medicine, The Scalpel and the Silver Bear joins those few rare works, such as Healing and the Mind, whose ideas have changed medical practices-and our understanding of the world."
Native American Scientists by Jetty St. John
Publication Date: 1996-01-01
"Presents five brief biographies of Native Americans who have pursued careers in various scientific fields, including Wilfred Denetclaw Jr., Frank Dukepoo, Fred Begay, Clifton Poodry, and Jerrel Yakel."
Susan la Flesche Picotte by Diane Bailey
Publication Date: 2021-05-04
"In this middle grade biography, learn about Susan LaFlesche Picotte, the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree. Susan LaFlesche Picotte was the first Native American doctor in the United States and served more than 1,300 patients over 450 square miles in the late 1800s. Susan was the daughter of mixed-race (white and Native American) parents, and struggled much of her life with trying to balance the two worlds. As a child, she watched an elderly Omaha Indian woman die on the reservation because no white doctor would come help. When she grew older, Susan attended one of just a handful of medical schools that accepted women, graduating top of her class as the country's first Native American physician. Returning to her native Nebraska, Susan dedicated her life to working with Native American populations, battling epidemics from smallpox to tuberculosis that ravaged reservations during the final decades of the 19th century. Blizzards and frigid temperatures were just part of the job for Susan, who took her horse and buggy for house calls no matter what the weather conditions. Before her death in 1915, she also established public health initiatives and even built a hospital."