Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
I spent this past summer in Santa Fe, NM working toward my graduate degree at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English. While in Santa Fe, I worked closely with my mentor and renowned Acoma Pueblo poet and scholar, Simon Ortiz, to design a new pedagogical framework for The Identity Project specifically geared towards Indigenous youth. In an effort to ground itself in the cultural values of Indigenous, and specifically Pueblo, youth, The Identity Project’s framework draws additional inspiration and direction from Dr. Eunice Romero-Little’s The Keres Study: Identifying Giftedness Among Keresan Pueblo Indians. Conducted from 1990-1993, this study was instrumental in breaking down and problematizing conventional understandings of intelligence as represented by the IQ test. Dr. Romero-Little explains that the Keres Study was “named after the seven Keresan Pueblo communities in which the qualitative study took place, [and] strove to understand giftedness from culturally knowledgeable Keres members active in the traditional life of the community”. This unique investigation resulted in the documentation of a Pueblo construct of giftedness encompassing four domains. These domains identify the realms of giftedness as expressed by individuals within in the cultural contexts of Keresan Pueblo life and they include the Humanistic/Affective Domain, Linguistic Domain, Knowledge/Cognitive Domain and the Domain of Creativity. From a Pueblo perspective, all individuals are viewed as being bestowed with chaa’wiya, a spiritual blessing of giftedness that embodies the characteristics from one or more of these domains. However, to be considered truly gifted in Keres, it is expected that the gift be given back, in a gesture of service to one’s community. This construct of giftedness offers a deeply humanizing perspective of students’ innate abilities and their intuitive intelligence. In an effort to realize the wisdom of The Keres Study, The Identity Project utilizes documentary storytelling techniques to nurture the qualities within each domain. This effort is exemplified by the creation of four corresponding learning phases for each of the four domains of Pueblo giftedness. The creation of this framework was the last essential piece to complete in preparation for delivering this work to Indigenous communities.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?
Forthcoming Partner Schools in Indian Country:
Santa Fe Indian School (NM)
Fort Washakie School (WY)
Current Partner Organizations:
Big Picture Learning (Boston, MA)
The Literacy Lab (Washington D.C.)
BeHeard.World (Boston, MA)