Astronaut John Herrington (Chickasaw) with AISES students in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Indigenous Education Institute (IEI) was created in 1995 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) institution with a mission to preserve, protect and apply traditional Indigenous knowledge in a contemporary setting, that of Indigenous peoples today, around the world. IEI has developed numerous projects that preserve traditional knowledge, protect the knowledge in terms of Indigenous protocol, and apply it to areas such as astronomy and other science disciplines.

IEI works closely with many Indigenous organizations and institutions and also with mainstream universities and K-12 schools. IEI personnel have given countless presentations around the world, in Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, and all through the continental United States. They have worked with many scientific organizations and institutions such as American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Canadian Aboriginal Science and Technology Society (CASTS), Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA), Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California-Berkeley, Space Telescope Science Institute, and the Native Science Academy.

Our Future – Navajo Child

IEI is located in Friday Harbor, WA, with branch offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Ganado, Arizona, and is composed of key administrators and board members from various Indian Nations. The Board of IEI is comprised of Indigenous leaders, with an International Advisory Board of noted individuals from all walks of life. IEI develops educational materials such as the
poster of the Dine (Navajo) Universe,
CD of Navajo Astronomy Stars Over Dine Bikeyah, and a cross cultural astronomy book:
Sharing the Skies: Navajo Astronomy – A Cross Cultural View, with comparisons of Navajo, Greek and NASA Space Science worldviews. IEI has developed a Dine Cosmic Model: “Strategic Planning and Evaluation in accordance with the Natural Order” as perceived by the Navajo. IEI is known for development of place-based curriculum relevant to Indigenous communities, such as Traditional Indigenous Geography, a traditional Indigenous introduction to GIS technology. Other university curricula include Indigenous Philosophy and Curriculum Development, a course developed and delivered from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and Introduction to Indigenous Astronomy, an online course developed and currently delivered through the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northern Arizona University. IEI specializes in the articulation of the differences and commonalities among Indigenous ways of knowing (native science) and Western Science and works to bring an awareness of Indigenous protocol for research and evaluation to the Western world.

The work of IEI is focused on the boundaries between traditional Indigenous science and western science, sometimes places of tension, but also places where the most fruitful exchange of knowledge can take place. The work of IEI is centered on the task of helping young native people find their own sense of self-identity and self-esteem in the world today, based on a firm foundation of thousands of years of cultural knowledge.

Welcome Message

Polly WalkerPolly Walker, Ph.D., ChairHuntingdon, PA,


  • by Polly Walker, Ph.D., Chair
  • Indigenous Education Institute (IEI)

On behalf of the Indigenous Education Institute and the Board of Directors, I welcome you to our website. The Indigenous Education Institute (IEI) is an Indigenous-based organization whose work is designed to revitalize and engage Indigenous knowledge in contemporary processes and projects. IEI has been a leader in creating collaborative and dialogical frameworks for working with Indigenous science and Western science in communities, national and international settings. Although strongly focused on Native science, IEI’s programs are also forms of peacemaking – they are restoring measures of respect for, and acknowledgement of, Indigenous ways of knowing that were suppressed and marginalized during colonization. Now, in part through the work of IEI, Indigenous ways of knowing are now more widely recognized as being rigorous knowledge systems in their own right that have significant value in both Indigenous and Western societies.

Again, welcome. We hope you will visit IEI’s website often and follow us as we progress our goals and develop new programs and partnerships.

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