The work of the Native American Academy is meant to empower a collaborative effort linking Native and non-Native scientists, scholars, educators and traditional knowledge holders across the continent to investigate:
- How can scientists and Indigenous scholars broaden the contemporary concepts of science and learning to include other systems of knowledge that are attuned to the complex interdependencies of a relational universe.
- How might this collaborative effort increase familiarity with Native science and Indigenous learning processes and support a sustained, coherent inquiry into a notion of diversity that includes different ways of perceiving, learning, knowing and holding knowledge.
- How can we explore the role of the scientist in society to bridge the gap between scientific imagination and moral imagination.
- How might a trans cultural discourse seed collaborations that enrich the scientific creative process, enhance and fulfill the multicultural missions of our universities and contribute to broad participation by Native Americans in the scientific community.
The Academy is committed to furthering understanding of the Native paradigm and Indigenous knowledge systems. And to expanding the discourse regarding these knowledge systems which are a legacy held collectively by Indigenous peoples across the globe
It is our intention that this sharing will offer new possibilities to continue the search and research into science and learning to find the vectors of a sacred balance.
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At the heart of the Academy are deep conversations that explore parallels, differences and possibilities for significant innovation and societal benefit between Native and Western science. Insights and knowledge that emerge from ceremonial dialogue, traditional learning circles and informal conversation builds mutual understanding and relationship. They create a space for generative change arising from people seeing their common concerns and aspirations and finding creative potential in their differences. It is a cornerstone of the Native paradigm that without the capacity to hold divergent views as equal scientific and social progress is limited. In August 2002, the National Science Foundation awarded the first in a series of grants to the Native American Academy to support the planning and development of a center for the study of Native science. It is thought that such a center would provide an ongoing forum for study, research and sharing of the Native paradigm and continue the Academy’s innovative exploration of the spirit and nature of science and learning.