Student Led Initiative on Mountain and Water Ecosystems
LEAD:Melissa Weatherwax, Blackfeet Community College
The Blackfeet people and the land are one and the same, connected by the language. The Blackfeet language and the stories are derived from the land. The language and the stories are what shapes the Blackfeet culture. Blackfeet Community College offers the opportunity for students to learn from the community and harvest knowledge to build opportunities for the future.
The tribal college is a place that connects students to community as they work toward their undergraduate degrees to support successful learning of its students. The Student Led Initiative on Mountain and Water Ecosystems followed a process that included student leadership, Geo science careers interest, community based learning, Blackfoot knowledge integration and student research. Managing professionals, retired professionals, community members, BCC faculty and staff, Blackfeet elders, and students were able to engage in an Ecosystems Summit that helped them to share their perspectives and knowledge on Mountain and Water Ecosystems within the Blackfeet Reservation.
The Blackfeet Reservation is a unique community that has professionals that are knowledgeable in understanding the Blackfeet Landscape. The participants in the Eco systems summit shared knowledge and perspective Blackfeet traditional land stewardship, past professional practices, mentorship, research, and current practices. The Eco-systems Summit provided opportunity for students to connect to their community through professional knowledge of their homeland. Professionals were provided the opportunity to engage in discussion and share perspective on integrated management and future professionals in the fields involved in eco-systems management.