Training of New Generation Domestic Data Scientists


“Native DNA is so sought after that people are looking for proxy data, and one of the biggest proxy data is the microbiome,” said Yracheta. “If you are an Indigenous person, you have to consider all these variables if you want to preserve your people and your culture.”

In a presentation at the conference, Joslynn Lee, a Navajo, Laguna Pueblo and Acoma Pueblo Nations member and biochemist at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., spoke about her experience monitoring changes in microbial communities in rivers. Mine wastewater spill in Silverton, Colo. Dr. Lee also offered practical tips on how to plan a microbiome analysis, from collecting a sample to processing it.

At a data science careers panel, Rebecca Pollet, a biochemist and a member of the Cherokee Nation, noted how many mainstream pharmaceutical drugs have been developed based on Indigenous traditional knowledge and herbal medicine. anti-malaria drug quinineFor example, it was developed from the bark of a Cinchona tree species that the Quechua people historically used as medicine. Studying the effects of pharmaceutical drugs and traditional foods on the gut microbiome, Dr. “How do we honor this traditional knowledge and compensate for those that cover it up?” Pollet said. he asked.

One participant, Lakota elder Les Ducheneaux, added that she believes medicine derived from traditional knowledge incorrectly eliminates the prayers and rituals that traditionally accompany treatment, making medicine less effective. “You have to constantly weigh the scientific side of medicine with the cultural and spiritual part of what you’re doing,” he said.

During the IndigiData conference, attendees also discussed ways to take responsibility for their own data to serve their community.

Mason Grimshaw, a data scientist and board member Native in AI., talked about his research with language data. International Wakashan AI Consortium. Led by engineer Michael Running Wolf, the consortium is developing an automated speech recognition AI for the Wakashan languages, an endangered language family spoken among several First Nations communities. Researchers believe that automatic speech recognition models can preserve fluency in Wakashan languages ​​and revive their use by future generations.


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