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Internships for indigenous science students provide hands-on training

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A week-long summer workshop in Edmonton gave science students the opportunity to connect and gain first-hand experience in genomics research.

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Summer Internship for Genomics Indigenous (SING) Canada to train and build scientific literacy among indigenous students and researchers in the field of molecular biology dealing with the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genetic material. Designed for. The program ran from July 11th to 15th.

Kim TallBear, a professor of native research at the University of Alberta and co-founder of SING Canada, said the program is aimed at future scientists. However, she also accepted members of the indigenous community, including elders and band councilors, along with working scientists who would like to learn more about their discipline in relation to indigenous research and governance priorities.

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“It’s really important that people in the community have a basic understanding of the lab, the culture of science, and what’s involved,” Tall Bear said. “We are primarily considering providing this context to indigenous scientists in training, but we may also provide it to those who are interested in policies and regulations.”

Created in 2018 and associated with both the University’s Faculty of Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Science, Technology and Social Programs, the annual workshop has approximately 8-14 participants each summer, according to TallBear. There is. The 2022 program included the opportunity to collect and analyze soil samples from the Nisku Native Prairie Reserve just south of Edmonton and compare them to corn crop soil at the University of Alberta Research Station.

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“We can see how various land uses, especially after settling, have altered the microbial flora in the soil,” Tall Bear said, referring to the genetic material of the microorganisms in those environments.

In a cohort of 2022, University of Victoria student Elijah Wood said he was attracted to the opportunity to gain scientific knowledge and training from an indigenous perspective.

A member of Samsung Creanation, he said the program allowed him to look back on the relationship between indigenous peoples and land.

“I can participate in the land in a way that builds my knowledge base and have the opportunity to hear from these other knowledge holders within the realm of science. That’s really special to me. “Wood said.

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This program is more than just a skills-building experience, it provides participants with the opportunity to network with each other, not just indigenous thinkers with an interest in both science and policy.

“Building relationships with science in a way that is about people doing science is probably the biggest I’ve covered,” Buffalo added.

In June, the University of Alberta launched an indigenous-led strategic plan aimed at dismantling the colonial structure of institutions that “deprived indigenous peoples of their legal, social, cultural, religious and ethnic rights.” Announced.

TallBear is essentially colonial in scientific methods, including systematic observations, measurements, experiments, hypothesis formulation, testing, and modification, although colonial institutions may practice scientific research. Said nothing.

“We can use scientific methods to investigate questions that are deeply interested in indigenous peoples, serve our priorities, and serve our people,” she said. “You may have questions about rare genetic diseases that are more often seen in indigenous communities. We may be very interested in it.”



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Internships for indigenous science students provide hands-on training

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