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Native Youth in Science - Preserving Our Homelands

Information presented is factual at the time of creation.
If no transcript and/or closed-caption is available, please notify us.
Background music [video of aerial shots of Cape Cod]

Monique Fordham (USGS) narration:

In early 2012 Renee Pocknett, Education Director for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, approached USGS National Tribal Liaison Monique Fordham about the need for a summer science program for Mashpee Wampanoag youth. Working together with Quan Tobey and Chuckie Green from the Tribe’s department of natural resources, Chris Polloni and Ben Gutierrez from the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, and educational consultant Kristen Wyman, they designed a new pilot program. This five week program would pair tribal culture keepers with scientists weaving tribal ecological knowledge together with western science. The goal: to educate and empower native youth while strengthening their connection to their ancestral lands. Native Youth in Science, Preserving Our Homelands.



Renee Lopes-Pocknett (Mashpee WampanoagTribe) stands and speaks to the group circle gathered at the Natural Resources Department offices:

I am really happy to be here today. I’m really delighted with this project. Been a short time in the making but a lot of hard work and dedication went into putting this together so we hope that you all have a good time.

Video of group of students, scientists and Wampanoag community members, standing outside of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Natural Resource Department offices in Mashpee, MA.

jesse little doe baird (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): [Speaks to the class inside the office classroom about the Wampanoag language and writes words on a white board]

Does anyone know the word for water?

Students: Nabeeb!

jesse little doe baird (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): Very good! So here’s the word for water – and how do I say mine? And what comes in front for mine? “Nuh” Very good! And guess what is cool about water too – look at that! When I say my water, “nutahkeem,” my water that is what?

Student: Part of me?

jesse little doe baird (Mashpee WampanoagTribe): That’s right! My water that is me and I am it – and did you know that the first little Wampanoag boy was created from the foam that is at the edge of the sea?

Student: Is he still alive?

jesse little doe baird (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): He’s living in you!

Student: Huh?

jesse little doe baird (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): He’s living within you!

Christine Stringer (Bureau of Indian Affairs): [She and a group of students stand on a narrow bridge over a small stream discussing water quality]

I was going to say that water molecules tighten together; That’s right. It gets colder so they stop moving around so much their not all spread apart – right – they are spread apart when it evaporates but when they condense they get closer together.

Kristen Wyman (consultant) [stands in covered structure surrounded by students at picnic tables]

Kristen Wyman (consultant): What happens when the cloud gets really heavy?

Student: It rains.

Kristen Wyman (consultant): And what’s that called? Precipitation, right! Now raise your hands when you get all the cards organized – that’s right!

Christine Stringer (Bureau of Indian Affairs) leads the youth on a field trip to collect water samples:

What else can describe this channel? So where the water would normally be is called the channel. What’s the bottom of the channel like?

Students: Ooooh, that’s nasty! Alright! It looks like grape juice!

Christine Stringer (Bureau of Indian Affairs): So what’s our dissolved oxygen?

Student: Zero point one nine.

Christine Stringer (Bureau of Indian Affairs): Zero point one nine – everybody got that?

Earl “Chiefie” Mills (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe) describing native plants to a group of students:

[Standing next to a bush] This is a blueberry bush. [laughs] These are actually a little early!

[stands holding a sprig of cedar] This is a plant that we use in ceremony. We burn the cedar leaves to make smoke to smudge with, and we use that as a purification and as a communication with the spirits.

[stands holding an oak leaf] Oak trees have acorns – the white oak trees have an edible acorn that is actually very sweet, and our relatives a long time ago – and some still today – they make bread out of the acorns. It is very sweet and very tasty. It was one of the more important food sources in the old days when our people depended on what grew.

Chuckie Green (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe) explains how to handle water samples [holds water sampling device]:

Students: I want to do it! It’s not easy!

Chuckie Green (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): Now we filtered this sample out of there – now this sample will be used to determine nutrients – the stuff in it - the phosphors and the nitrogen.

Richie Williams (USGS) discusses cosmology and sea level rise: [stands holding a poster, stretches out arms]

Before it gets to that point, the sun expands –

Student: Can they build a sun?

Ritchie Williams: [bends down to talk with seated student] so– world wide – every place on the planet sees four millimeters of rise every year!

Student: That’s a lot!

Ritchie Williams: It is when you start adding it up year after year – right!

Larry Poppe (USGS) describes types of rocks [stands and hands out rock samples]

Yes, so who had the geode before? Ok, if you open the geode and you see the quartz crystals; there was a space there so the crystals could grow, and that is why it had that crystal form; this is the same thing but the crystals are smaller and there is a little bit of iron in it

[holding rock with dinosaur footprint in it] Dinosaurs were wandering around in the mud flats and that’s why they have so many foot prints in the sediments.

Darrel Wixon (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe) and Larry Poppe (USGS) using a traditional Native American stone drilling tool.

Student: Can you go any faster?

Darrel Wixon (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): [standing, showing piece of stone to students] But relating to the stone – I have this piece which is soap stone – want to hold it?

Student: Yes.

Shot panning students sitting and listening.

Darrel Wixon (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): I don’t make wampum jewelry highly polished.

Student: Oh, you made that?

Darrel Wixon (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): [showing deer antler points] And out of that antler you cut pieces off, and we make these points and these are tools – tools that are used to make the points that Jonathan has – he’s going to show these to you – he’s not going to pass them around because some of these are thousands of years old

Jonathan Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe) [holds up stone arrowhead]

You can see how thin it is – all right - we were able to make stone tools that were used in surgery, tattooing even eye surgery – the first people on earth to do eye surgery – Native people – did you know that? No? The first people on earth to do brain surgery too! With stone tools. Why? Because stone tools can be many times sharper than the steel scalpel, where you can make an incision one micron thick!

Kitty Hendricks (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe) demonstrates Native cooking techniques and traditional Native American tools.

[Students working with handle and pestle – grinding seeds]

[Examining a fishing net] You saw the way they did that – it goes here [checking the weave] Alright.

[shot of striped bass on a spit and vegetables cooking in a pot]

[Kitty sitting on ground with students demonstrating fur quiver and arrows] You make a quiver from this red fox skin – you store your arrows in there.

Student: Can I shoot the arrows? Can I shoot the arrows?”

Kitty Hendricks (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): And you go out hunting! [Student shoots toy arrow]

Erika Lentz (USGS) shoreline field trip on beach.

It’s where the water meets the horizon! [showing students how to locate horizon with yardstick]

That’s another indication of a storm – perfect - come on over guys and look – that brown stuff – that’s gravel. [people digging trenches in the sand; close up of sand showing 3 dark colored layers]

And how many storm events can you see? One – two – three – three storm events!

Chuckie Green (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe) describes shoreline modifications [standing on beach pointing further down the shoreline]

You see the same depletion that we had over on the other side, with the seaweed and everything up in the corner. That’s happening all the way down here, at least thirty or forty jetties.

[talking to group of students at picnic table]

As sea level rises, environments change – the marshes move backwards into the uplands and that changes where you’re going to hunt and where you’re going to fish!

Earl “Chiefie” Mills (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe) talks about Wampanoag oral history and cultural hero Maushop [standing next to tree speaking to students]

Because remembering the past often times gives you a window into the future! Like Chuckie was saying, you know, our people historically have been through this – been through many changes of the earth – our history and our culture are lessons – and there is a correlation between modern science and our culture which is based on the observations – the historical observations of our people – in order to make sound decisions for your children and your grandchildren for your community when you become leaders of your communities, you need to be able to make informed decisions and those are based on experience. The experience of your antecedents – it’s one of the best teachers that you’ll have at your disposal – because obviously they made some good decisions that allowed us to continue to be here. Knowing the past is certainly a good tool to be able to plan for the future. So it’s important to listen to the stories and to remember them to digest the information. When you’re talking about Maushop – to understand that the connections with Maushop the cultural hero and the actual changes that did take place on the earth and to read between the lines – but most importantly to pay attention to remember to hear listen and process it, because once we’re gone you guys become the old ones; somebody’s going to ask you a question and I don’t want you to have regret that “I should have paid attention that day when Chuckie was talking.”

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve) and Erika Lentz (USGS) log the beach profiles [sitting with students on picnic benches, filling in graphs on graph paper]

See, one this one, one, two, three so this is the graph. If you look down at the bottom of the graph you can see that they are color coded; so the yellow line is from December 2010.

Wayne Baldwin (USGS) covers mapping and geology [in classroom with maps spread out on tables and directing students to read the maps]

If everyone looks at the lower right hand corner of their map – what is it? There is a box that says legend.

Student: Yellow is glacial…

Chuckie Green (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe) discusses the locations of ancient glaciers [pointing to map on table in area now under water]

When the glacier was building, precipitation was coming falling down and building the ice higher, making the glacier move south. Well, at that time our Tribe – our people – were probably out here.

Tony Perry, Sr. and Bernadine Pocknett (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe)

[cutting vegetables for lunch]

Wayne Baldwin (USGS) discussing mapping [at table with students who hold pens and notebooks]

It’s about a mile and a half. OK, remember that because we are going to use it later

[student pointing to map]

Student: Are there ponds on top of these?

Wayne Baldwin (USGS): Sometimes there are islands within the ponds.

Chuckie Green (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe) [shot of group canoe trip up the Mashpee River]

Man, you couldn’t get a better day to be out on the river!

Chris Polloni (USGS) examining the trail map [group gathered around picnic table looking at map]

This is the landing trail right here. I guess we are right at that point!

Renee Lopes-Pocknett (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe) [walking on trail with students; stops and holds plant at side of trail]

Laila, Brett, Iyano –

Jonathan Perry, Sr. (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): Come on up close to Renee.

Renee Lopes-Pocknett (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): Do you know what this is?

Jonathan Perry, Jr. (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): she just said it.

Renee Lopes-Pocknett (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): Because we eat off of it – everybody loves it – berry…

Students: Blueberry!!

Pamela Polloni (Marine Biology Lab/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) [holding up pressed plant specimen]

Student: Fresh and salt water.

Pamela Polloni (Marine Biology Lab/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) Yes, salty fresh – sometimes it’s saltier than other times, and so where it’s salty – we salt roads – and the salt gets washed off, sometimes in ditches you’ll see this tall reed growing. And it’s considered invasive, but on Cape Cod we found a native sub-species.

Off camera voice: What’s that one called, Pam?

Pamela Polloni (Marine Biology Lab/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute): It’s called Tripsacum; and this was found on the edge of a salt marsh on the other side of Buzzards Bay. I don’t know if it occurs here or not, but it might. It’s considered rare in New England.

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): [standing with students on the walking paths on the salt marsh; student pulls item out of a bag that Jim Rassman is holding, looks at it]

Ok, What is it?

Student: A house.

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): A house. How is the salt marsh like a house?

Student: It’s a home to many animals.

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): So we came down and we saw the heron was right here, eating. [shot of heron] As we walk up looking at any of these pools here we can see lots of fish; lots of little things are living in the salt marsh, so there are things that live no where else. They don’t live in the forest, they don’t live out in the open ocean, but they live in the salt marsh. Right after lunch we’re going to take a net in some of these waters and we’re going to see what lives in the salt marsh.

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): [holds up small paper version of a fish to students]

This fish is called sheep’s head minnow. they’re really short little fat cute little fish, very cute; they are short and fat – they look like a little bass – a little fresh water bass except they are small. These fish are in muddy areas way up in really warm waters that are up further in the salt marsh.

[Jim Rassman holding up large fish nets and showing them to the students]

They hit this and they can’t swim any further and they swim back down into your bag and then we gather the bag and bring this net and dump it and see what we caught.

[directing students walking with nets on side of small waterway in the salt marsh, students are walking in the water with the big net between them] OK, weights on the bottom, floats on the top. Think of it as a net; you don’t want it to go over. Walk up to Tony!

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): [sitting on ground with students as they look at the small fish that they have retrieved with the nets]

Flash of silver. They’ve got silver what’s? Silver what’s?

Student: Backs.

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): Are the backs silver?

Student: Sides.

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): Silver sides!

There ya go, crabby [?]

Student: Oh, those fat ones?

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): They’re fat and they don’t have big lines on them.

[student checking out a bluecrab in the sample tray]

Off camera voice: Careful with those waders! [students walking through salt marsh wearing waders]

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): [Boat trip to Washburn Island.] [Group of students and adults on boats]

[sound of students and adults on boat talking]

[Students and adults on beach]

Jim Rassman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve): Hurricane Beach is right there across from us – you see the sand – you can see some people playing out there! That’s Hurricane beach right there which is down Wilfrik Road..

[Students and adults feeling for clams in the surf with their feet]

Student: Dad, You got one?

Renee Lopes-Pocknett (Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe): [Closing ceremony]

We’re so grateful that all you young people came, you worked hard and you learned some things. You showed us respect and you listened to your elder folks and we’re just grateful for all of you. How many of you would like to come back again? Alright, we’re going to work on a plan we look forward very much on doing that. But right now this is the last day of our program and we had a lot of fun… just want to know if you guys want to say a few words before we start our awards?

Monique Fordham (USGS): No, I just want to say thanks so much to the staff; you kids were great – thanks for hanging in there! And it was really fun and hope that you all will be interested in doing it again.

Chris Polloni (USGS): The scientist staff struggled to put this together; we had such a short fuse. When Renee and I first met – it was a surprise – Kristen and Troy actually kicked this off a long time ago; the actual big deal was when Monique called and said I’m coming to Woods Hole and we’re going to do this thing – so it’s really great – a family – it’s one big family – nice operation!

[Students holding up posters they’d drawn about what they learned in the camp and talking about what is on the posters]

Student: Water temperatures and salinity – and I learned about the ancestral food our ancestors ate and learned how important respect is. And that’s what I learned!

Student: The ocean part and all the bushes and stuff separating the marsh from the ocean; and then these are all the ponds ocean parts and brackish waters that are connecting and these are the cattails and these are the grasses and then the big trees that are around the marsh.

Student: I learned why it smelled so bad because of all the organic stuff in it – and it’s a cool place because it’s a resting place for all the birds and stuff – where’s Harold – he taught me a lot – he had diagrams and stuff - a baby bottle and other cool things.

Student: [reading a letter] Dear dad, I really want to thank you for making me go to the science camp because I really didn’t care until now. I did not know about our culture. I also want to thank Chuckie, Krissy, Renee, Darrel and Chiefie because they taught me a lot of the stuff such as: the water level; the water level moves up four millimeters per year; also I learned about sediment, how rocks have different kinds of sediment and how they are broken down over time; also how glaciers make islands – the way they make islands is when glaciers move they push up dirt to the surface and make islands such as Cape Cod; whenever it is high tide when comes in it kills cedar trees every time it gets higher and the water rises. Also I learned from Jesse that the first boy was born by foam when we heard about the story. One of the favorite things I had at camp was traditional foods, and something fun we did was the crushed up walnuts by using tools our ancestors had. Science camp taught me a lot of stuff. I really had fun and am looking forward to coming back next year!

Voice off camera: Thank you Renee!



[ tribal drumming and singing]





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Details

Title: Native Youth in Science - Preserving Our Homelands

Description:

Documentary on the Native Youth in Science - Preserving Our Homelands program.

Location: Mashpee, MA, USA

Date Taken: 7/12/2012

Length: 21:19

Video Producer: Monique Fordham , U.S. Geological Survey


Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.

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Tags: American Cape Cod Ecological Knowledge Mashpee Native Traditional Tribe Wampanoag youth

 

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