Native Explorers (NE) is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NE provides educational programs and promotes partnerships that increase the number of Native Americans in science and medicine. Educational programs include the Native Explorers Program (NEP) at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS) in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Native Explorers student organization at the University of Oklahoma (OU). The NEP is designed around the disciplines of anatomy and vertebrate paleontology to provide an array of hands-on, off campus activities to introduce Natives to the scientific method and traditional ways. General themes include climate change, evolution, comparative osteology, stratigraphy, mapping, healthful lifestyles, and Native culture. This educational program is focused on Natives 18 years of age and older, who are interested in higher education. The Native Explorers student organization at OU unites Natives on campus, who are interested in science and / or medicine and builds networks with professionals in these disciplines.
Our partnerships include scientists and educators from the Chickasaw Nation, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (SNOMNH), the USDA Forest Service (Price District, Price, UT), and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR). Educators at the Chickasaw Nation’s Division of Education created a Native Explorers club for Native youth ages 6-18. Mentorship for the Chickasaw youth group is provided by educators at the Chickasaw Nation, scientists and educators at the SNOMNH, and scientists at the OSU-CHS. The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History implemented a Native Explorers component to their Paleo Expedition part of the Whitten-Newman ExplorOlogy program. Native and non-native scientists and educators from the USDA Forest Service and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources demonstrate field methods used to manage the local resources and they provide insights into internships and careers as well. We hope to partner with every federally recognized tribe in the U.S as well as every educational institution interested in achieving the same goals.