Students use traditional practices for science fair inspiration
- NC Raine | March 09, 2018
For ten years the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) has been supporting bright, young minds in their scientific experiments, pursuits and dreams. Held in Saskatoon over March 5th and 6th, the Tenth Annual Saskatchewan First Nations Science Fair brought hardworking First Nations students from grades 6 to 12 to show off their experiments and innovations in the field of science.
“For eons, the Indigenous people of the world have operated, practiced, and maintained their traditional knowledge and ways of knowing in science and mathematics, while holding a fundamental belief that all life is connected,” says FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “Our First Nation youth will lead new journeys based on the teachings of their ancestors, powered by culture and tradition.”
This year saw Kahley Iron from Canoe Lake Cree First Nation, as well as Frayden Piche and Darien Montgrand from Clearwater River Dene Nation take the top honours in the science fair for their innovative projects. The winners will go on to compete this May at the Canada Wide Science Fair in Ottawa.
Piche and Montgrand's prize-winning experiment looked at the freezing temperatures of animal fat. The two grade six students froze different beaver pelts, concluding that the pelts with the highest fat content took a longer period to freeze. The idea, Piche says, came from practicing traditional trapping methods with his family.
“I'm into doing traditional things,” Piche told Eagle Feather News. “I go trapping with my grandfather...(so I got the idea) from trapping with him.”
All the participants at the FSIN First Nations Science Fair were also given insights from one of the most esteemed scientists in the province on how the pursuit of science and academics can lead people just like them to success.
“We look to you to supply the leaders for our future,” Dean Chapman, Science Director at the Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon, told the science fair participants.
Chapman, a First Nations man from the Cheyenne Tribe in Oklahoma, United States, is one of the head scientists the world-class synchrotron light source facility in Saskatoon. Chapman spoke to the students, sharing his success story of following his passion, and encouraging the young minds in the room to chase their goals.
“I'm quite proud of the fact that we're engaged with this community, and hope that we can draw some of you into this business,” he said. “Part of our future as a society depends on science and technology.”