Greg Cajete

Indigenous Educator
Environmental Advocate
Travels from: Albuquerque, NM

“Native Minds Rising is a gift of power, wisdom, relevance and urgency. Indigenous ways of learning, knowing and living are vital pathways to a healthy future.” –  Cheryl Charles, PhD

Gregory Cajete, Ph.D. (Santa Clara Pueblo), Native American educator whose work is dedicated to honoring the foundations of Indigenous knowledge in education. Dr. Cajete is a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. He has served as a New Mexico Humanities scholar in ethno botany of Northern New Mexico and as a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission. In addition, he has lectured at colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, England, Italy, Japan, and Russia.

He worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 21 years. While at the Institute, he served as Dean of the Center for Research and Cultural Exchange, Chair of Native American Studies and Professor of ethno science. He organized and directed the First and Second Annual National Native American Very Special Arts Festival held in respectively in Santa Fe, NM in 1991 and Albuquerque, NM in 1992. In 1995, he was offered a position in American Indian education in the University of New Mexico, College of Education.

Currently, he is a Professor of Native American Studies and Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Cajete earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from New Mexico Highlands University with majors in both Biology and Sociology and a minor in Secondary Education. He received his Masters of Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in Adult and Secondary Education. He received his Ph.D. from International College – Los Angeles New Philosophy Program in Social Science Education with an emphasis in Native American Studies.

Dr. Cajete has received several fellowships and academic distinctions, including the American Indian Graduate Fellowship from the US-DOE Office of Indian Education (1977-78); the D’arcy McNickle Fellowship in American Indian History from the Newberry Library, Chicago, IL (1984-85); and the Katrin Lamon Fellowship in American Indian Art and Education (1985-1986) from the School of American Research in Santa Fe, NM.

Dr. Cajete also designs culturally-responsive curricula geared to the special needs and learning styles of Native American students. These curricula are based upon Native American understanding of the “nature of nature’ and utilizes this foundation to develop an understanding of the science and artistic thought process as expressed in Indigenous perspectives of the natural world.

Dr. Cajete has authored fivebooks: Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education (1994); Ignite the Sparkle: An Indigenous Science Education Curriculum Model (1999); Spirit of the Game: Indigenous Wellsprings (2004); A People’s Ecology: Explorations in Sustainable Living (1999); and Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence (2000).

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Diné Perspectives

University of Arizona Press |
Scientific Nonfiction

What does it mean to be a Navajo (Diné) person today? What does it mean to “respect tradition”? How can a contemporary life be informed by the traditions of the past? These are the kinds of questions addressed by contributors to this unusual and pathbreaking book.

All of the contributors are coming to personal terms with a phrase that underpins the matrix of Diné culture: Sa’ah Naagháí Bik’eh Hózhóón. Often referred to simply as SNBH, the phrase can be translated in many ways but is generally understood to mean “one’s journey of striving to live a long, harmonious life.” The book offers a variety of perspectives of Diné men and women on the Diné cultural paradigm that is embedded in SNBH. Their writings represent embodied knowledge grounded in a way of knowing that connects thought, speech, experience, history, tradition, and land. Some of the contributors are scholars. Some are Diné who are fighting for justice and prosperity for the Navajo Nation. Some are poets and artists. They are united in working to preserve both intellectual and cultural sovereignty for Diné peoples. And their contributions exemplify how Indigenous peoples are creatively applying tools of decolonization and critical research to re-create Indigenous thought and culture in a present day that rarely resembles the days of their ancestors.

More than 300,000 people self-identify as Diné today. Every one must grapple with how to make a life that acknowledges Sa’ah Naagháí Bik’eh Hózhóón. Diné Perspectives is unique in bringing such personal journeys to the public eye.

Life Lessons Through Storytelling

Indiana University Press |
Scientific Nonfiction

Storytelling empowers children to engage in discussions; explore ideas about power, respect, community, fairness, equality, and justice; and help frame their understanding of complex ethical issues within a society. In Life Lessons through Storytelling, Donna Eder interviews elementary students and presents their responses to stories from different cultures. Using Aesop’s fables and Kenyan and Navajo storytelling traditions as models for classroom use, Eder demonstrates the value of a cross-cultural approach to teaching through storytelling, while providing deep insights into the social psychology of learning.

Native Science, Meanings and Possibilities; Creating Culturally Responsive Integrated Science and Art

Education Curriculum; An Indigenous History of Indigenous Education; Creating Sustainable Indigenous Community in a 21st Century World

Environmental Ethics, An Indigenous Perspective; Thinking the Highest Thought, An Indigenous Philosophy of Relationship; Indigenous Place-Based Sustainability Education

Native American Astronomy, Resonance with the Cosmos

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Institute of American Indian Arts, Dean of the Center for Research and Cultural Exchange
Institute of American Indian Arts, Chair of Native American Studies
Institute of American Indian Arts, Professor of Ethno- Science
Former Director of Native American Studies at the University of Mexico
Emeritus Professor in the Division of Language, Literacy and Socio Cultural Studies

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