National Wilderness Conference Keynote Speaker: Dr. Gregory Cajete, Native American educator

Gregory Cajete is a Native American educator whose work honors the foundations of indigenous knowledge in education. He is a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico, and 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, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Cajete worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 21 years, where 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 in 1991 and Albuquerque 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 Director of Native American Studies and an Associate Professor in the Division of Language, Literacy and Socio Cultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. 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, and his Ph.D. from International College - Los Angeles New Philosophy Program in Social Science Education, with an emphasis in Native American Studies.

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.

He is a practicing ceramic, pastel and metal artist, and is extensively involved with art and its applications to education. He is also an herbalist and holistic health practitioner. In this capacity, he has researched Native American, Chinese and Ayurvedic healing philosophies and the cultural perspectives of health and wholeness.

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.

Cajete has authored five books: Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education, (Kivaki Press, 1994); Ignite the Sparkle: An Indigenous Science Education Curriculum Model, (Kivaki Press, 1999); Spirit of the Game: Indigenous Wellsprings, (2004); A People's Ecology: Explorations in Sustainable Living; and Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence, (Clearlight Publishers, 1999 and 2000). One co-authored book with Don Jacobs (Four Arrows) and Jong Min Lee is entitled: Neurophilosophy and Indigenous Wisdom, Sense Publications, Netherlands.

Cajete will be speaking at the National Wilderness Conference on Thursday, October 16th as part of the following: Wilderness and Our Sense of Place with keynote speakers Nathan Small, Las Cruces, New Mexico, City Councilman; Dr. Greg Cajete, Native American educator; Terry Tempest Williams, author