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If you are an American Indian interested in the natural world, Native culture and connecting with other Natives you should consider joining our team of Native research scientists, educators and physicians on a scientific and cultural expedition. The program provides out of the classroom, hands-on experiences that will strengthen your knowledge of science, medicine and Native cultures. We will work with you to build professional networks in science, medicine and culture.  Ultimately, you will learn how Native cultures complement the natural world and medicine while creating lifelong, professional networks and friendships. To this end, the program will provide guidance for your career choices and strengthen your cultural background. This year, we plan to explore four ecoregion within Oklahoma:  Ozark Highlands, Boston Mountains, Central Great Plains and Cross Timbers.  

If you are interested in learning about the vertebrate fossils, natural history and Native culture and traditions, this scientific expedition is for you. You may be eligible to earn three hours of college credit.  The program will run from May 21 - June 2, 2018.  The deadline for application materials and letter of support is March 1st, 2018 (received). Successful participants will be notified by email by March 8, 2018.

We will visit vertebrate localities, collect vertebrate fossil remains (e.g., horse, rhinos, camels, cats and dogs) that are about 10 million years old, visit museums, archeological sites and learn about the history and culture of the Native people that inhabited these regions over the past 10,000 years.  You will also learn about the modern plants and animals that occur in the ecoregions we visit.  

Activities will begin on the campus of Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS) in Tulsa, Okla. and include exploring anatomy by comparing diseased and normal organs (lungs, hearts, brains, bones). Participants will learn how to identify fossil remains and will be introduced to equipment used by vertebrate paleontologists. Physicians and medical students will interact with the participants to teach them about healthful lifestyles and medicine. The on-campus activities will be followed by a scientific excursion. Native traditions and culture will be an integral part of this program.

Participants will work side-by-side with Native research scientists from OSU-CHS, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History to learn about vertebrate paleontology and natural history. Culturalists, archeologists, geologists and biologists from the Cherokee and Chickasaw nations, National Park Service (U.S. Department of the Interior) and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will introduce participants to protocols used for the management of natural resources and the preservation and protection of historic sites as well as possible career opportunities and internships.

The primary objective of the Native Explorers Program is to promote and increase the number of American Indians in science and medicine. This opportunity will expose participants to careers in graduate and medical programs, federal programs (e.g., National Park Service), state agencies and sovereign nations (e.g., Cherokee and Chickasaw). 



   18 years of age (minimum)

   Enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe

   Earned high school diploma, equivalent (e.g., GED) or approval of selection committee at time of        participation in program

   Good academic background (grades and service). Grades will be considered but will not be a limiting     factor for a successful applicant

   Interest in learning, especially sciences and medicine

   Active member of affiliated tribe (traditional). Individuals lacking this criteria but interested in learning     traditional ways may be considered

   Letter of reference from an academic instructor

   Applicant is responsible for transportation to and from OSU-CHS

   Physician’s release form signed by licensed physician (for selected participants only)