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Native Views from Space

Who are NASA's Earth Explorers?

The elementary school student wondering how El Niño will affect tomorrow's weather. The scientist studying connections between ozone and climate change. And the farmer using satellite pictures to keep track of crops. All of these people are Earth Explorers -- they are all curious about the Earth system. This series will introduce you to NASA Earth Explorers, young and old, with many backgrounds and interests.

James Rattling Leaf
James Rattling Leaf
Native Americans have always believed that all natural things are connected. One of their traditional symbols is the medicine wheel. The medicine wheel is a circular pattern of stones. It shows the relationship between Earth, air, water and fire.

Native Americans see the world much like NASA does. They see it as a single system of related parts.

James Rattling Leaf is a member of South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux tribe. He's helping Native Americans get a better a picture of how Earth's different parts work together.

The Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming
The Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming Dates Back to the 1800s
Rattling Leaf works at Sinte Gleska University (SGU). He's in charge of several projects that are part of a program called NativeView. The projects use information from NASA satellites to improve Native American life.

An important goal of NativeView is to combine science with Native American culture. A computer program called Rez Mapper is a good example of this. It shows maps like the ones you find in an atlas. But it also has Native American songs, stories and pictures.

Much of the data used in NativeView comes from NASA's Landsat 7 satellite. Last year, a picture from the satellite helped show the damage caused by a fire on the Rosebud Reservation. This made it easier to see exactly what happened.

Rattling Leaf is also working on several other projects. These projects will teach Native Americans about satellites and other technology. This will help them make better decisions about their environment.

Together, Rattling Leaf and NASA are helping Native Americans become Earth explorers.

Next month's Earth Explorers: GLOBE students go international with trip to Croatia.

Landsat 7 Image of a Fire on Rosebud Sioux Tribal Land
This Image from NASA's Landsat 7 Satellite Helped Support Damage Assessment After a Fire on the Lands of South Dakota's Sioux Tribe (USGS Image)
Related Resources:

Landsat 7 Education page

NativeView Web site

From A Distance: An Introduction to Remote Sensing/GIS/GPS