Astronomy Project Helps Chilean Indigenous Students Rediscover Ancestral Roots

RITA Indigenous Students Rediscover Ancestral Roots

The Rediscovering Identity Through Astronomy (RITA) project is using astronomy as a means of common humanitarian awareness, to help indigenous students rediscover ancestral roots. During the project, students, with the help of their teachers, identify with their ancestral roots and indigenous culture through the exploration of worldviews. RITA hopes to increase the interest of indigenous students in STEM careers. The project, conducted by Fundación Janequeo, is working with indigenous educators and students in the Likan Antai, Pascuense and Mapuche communities in Chile.

In stage one, teachers participated in a series of virtual planning meetings with the project leadership team. It was followed by teachers working with their respective students on a monthly research question for 5 months. These questions facilitate the connection between students and their ancestral roots. Virtual meetings are also held between the three participating schools and their respective work teams. During this time, students explore and share experiences and challenges and share research results and their worldview. A conference is being planned at the end of the project where students can share their findings with the wider Chilean community, raising awareness of our common humanity and our shared origins in the stars through a poster session and oral presentations.

RITA Indigenous students rediscover identity