Transcending Barriers

Announcing the 2020 MONTANA GRAND CHALLENGE Institute:

SAVE the DATE: June 11 – 14, 2020

Adaptation, Innovation, & Resiliency: biocultural solutions for Climate Change

Taking place at the University of Montana, Salish Kootenai College, and on locations throughout western Montana over these four (4) days, this conference will serve as (1) a showcase and culmination of projects between indigenous tribes and colleges/universities from Hawaii, Alaska, California, Arizona, and Montana with support from a Keck Foundation grant administered by the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement whose partners have focused for the last three years to meaningfully connect Indigenous Knowledge with Western Science; (2) a catalyst for enhancing dialogue between Salish Kootenai College, University of Montana, the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes’ Climate Change Advisory Committee, and the city of Missoula to collaborate on matters of adaptation, resiliency, innovation, and ecosystems health; and (3) an opportunity to invite as special guests key members of the other 10 tribes in Montana and their respective adjacent university/college science technology civic engagement faculty who might be interested in creating a statewide consortium for us to scale efforts to share, innovate, and adapt together.

Tech4Good@SKC received a grant in Fall 2017 to facilitate the development of the Flathead Watershed Transcending Barriers: Connecting Indigenous and Western Knowledge Consortium.

The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) launched this initiative, funded by the Keck Foundation, to advance durable and equitable collaborations between indigenous communities and local educational organizations. The goal of this project is to provide engaging, inquiry-based learning opportunities around environmental and health challenges of immediate relevance and interest to indigenous youth and their communities, while transcending perceived conflicts between “traditional” and “western” knowledge.

Led by university/college/community consortiums in Hawaii and Alaska, other new regional leads include consortiums by:

The Flathead Watershed:
proposed focus for partnership connecting indigenous knowledge and western science.

with continued game design partners Native Teaching Aids and in partnership with:

to work with Salish Kootenai College students and area 8-12th graders to address annual community challenges, “Water is Life…” (2017-2018), “Community Health” (2018-2019), and “Climate Change” (2019 – 2020). Through game jams, mentorships, field trips, workshops, and a summer camp for native youth, we will use art, technology, games, and design to collaborate on solving meaningful community challenges.

These explorations will inform a variety of courses in Fish and Wildlife, Media Design, and other programs at the tribal college with the intention of creating civic engagement opportunities for students.


Further Reading: some great links offered by Bob Franco, partner-leader from Kapiolani College in Hawai’i

Big Questions

Civic Action Campus Compact

Civic Action Plan KCC

We re Still In

UH Sustainability policy

KCC Sustainability Climate Action Plan

UN Sustainability Development Goals


KCC- Sustainability Development Goals and Service-Learning Pathways

ACCESS Engagement University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and MINA

Film: Models of Civic Engagement

Film: SENCER Hawaiʻi

Grand Challenge Institutes bring experts and community together around common environmental, cultural, and scientific themes to share projects and wisdom to design, collaborate, and find strength in adaptation, connection, resiliency, creativity, and honoring tradition. Modeled after our partners at the University of Hawaii Office of Sustainability’s successful three years of Grand Institutes, Tech4Good at Salish Kootenai College is honored to host this inaugural Grand Challenge institute in Montana.