Dirt in my shoes

How did I start on this path?

Dirt in my shoes.

I’m speaking about my research at a meeting attended by communication and journalism researchers and teachers.

Each of us on the panel is describing what we can learn from indigenous knowledge and how we can use this knowledge.

As a writer who likes science, I ended up studying how science is communicated, particularly issues about health, risk and the environment.

And I look at how these issues affect indigenous peoples.

Just like the characters Susan Powers describes in her book, The Grass Dancer.

In the novel, a medicine woman with a trickster streak wants to keep a white school-teacher on the rez, so she secretly sprinkles Black Hills dirt in the girl’s shoes. And the teacher just can’t bring herself to leave.

I explain to the audience that I study how Indian knowledge systems embrace a more holistic view of life, where science isn’t separated from art, music, cooking, eating and hunting–at least, traditionally.

But that doesn’t mean native peoples are anti-science. Science is folded into everything.

Including the dirt in my shoes.

[Photo of the Black Hills from city-data.com]



About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in american indian, Indian, journalism, Lakota, native american, Native Science, science, science communication. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dirt in my shoes

  1. What a great way to put it, “Science is folded into everything.” Beautiful.


  2. I believe the idea that everything is folded into everything else is a difficult one for many people. It make for interesting science and is a challenge to grasp. I appreciate your willingness to articulate important concepts.


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