Students send the Osage language into space and hear Indigenous astronaut Nicole Mann's response

Students send the Osage language into space and hear Indigenous astronaut Nicole Mann’s response

NASA astronaut Nicole Mann spoke live from the International Space Station to Osage County students as she answered their questions about space.

The Osage name for the event was π“»π“£Ν˜π“€π“˜π“»π“£Ν˜ π“˜π“¬π“˜ π“¨π“£Ν˜π“₯π“˜π“€’π“Ÿ π“ͺπ“₯π“£Ν˜π“Ÿ π“˜π“¬π“™, which translates to “kids talk to the stars”.

Nicole Anapu Mann became the first Native American woman in space when she joined the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) in October. Mann is a registered Wailacki member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in California.

Patrick Martin is the superintendent of π“ˆπ’°π“„π“‚π“†π’Όπ’° π’°βŒƒπ’Όπ“‚π“ˆπ’°π“¬π’» (Daposka Ahnkodapi Elementary), the private elementary school in the Osage Nation. He said the school began the lengthy application process to participate in a NASA Q&A last year.

β€œOur Chief Standing Bear, he was the visionary who got this ball rolling,” Martin said. “He wanted to watch 𐓏𐒰𐓓𐒰𐓓𐒷 𐒻𐒷, the Osage language, be spoken in space, and have our children be part of it.”

Space heard its first words from Osage in October when two students from the tribe’s private elementary school were able to ask questions as part of an event with Native media from across the United States.

“It’s a big deal anyway,” said Braxton Redeagle, director of the Osage Nation language department. “They talked about the name of the Osage Nation immersion school, Daposka Ahnkodapi, which means ‘our school’.”

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Students, teachers and volunteers at the event took a photo to thank Mann for answering their questions.

A direct line to space

At the October event, Associated Press reporter Marcia Dunn relayed the questions, and questions from Daposka Ahnkodapi students were just two of many across the country. Last week’s questions all came directly from Osage County students, who asked them via pre-recorded videos.

More than 100 attendees spent the morning doing space-themed activities in a building decorated with orange and blue balloons, the colors of NASA crew flight suits. Crowds gathered around a projection screen to see Mann answer 20 questions from Osage County students.

β€œWatching Nicole Mann float around on that screen was so amazing,” said Mary Wildcat, Director of the Osage Nation Department of Education. “Being able to see and interact with the first Native American woman to go into space was just indescribable.”

Malana McGlaston, a fourth-grade student at Daposka Ahnkodapi, asked the first question. “Did you bring anything from your tribal heritage on this mission?” she asked.

Mann said she brought a dreamcatcher her mother gave her to the space station.

“I had it floating next to my crew quarters to remind me of home and keep my dreams well at night,” Mann said.

Mann also answered questions about the number of languages ​​spoken by the ISS crew, the division of labor and the possibility of growing tomatoes in space. Most were from Daposka Ahnkodapi students, but students from Hominy and Pawhuska public schools also sent questions to the ISS.

Dominic Shackelford is a fifth year student at Daposka Ahnkodapi. His question about what would happen if you fired a gun in space was addressed during Mann’s October Q&A session.

Mann explained that she didn’t know because it was too dangerous to shoot a gun on the space station.

Weeks later, Shackelford said he still wondered. “Would it bounce like a ping pong ball?” he said. β€œWould it stop? Would it explode from all the firepower?

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After hearing Nicole Mann, the students watched the volunteers launch rockets.

shoot for the stars

Shackelford and his classmates did space-themed activities to prepare for their conversation with Mann.

β€œLast year we did experiments firing rockets,” Shackelford said. “It went well, in fact, they went so high. A small engine can have a lot of power.

Last week’s event featured even more cosmic fun. The Q&A took place at the Osage County Fairgrounds, and attendees were able to design their own mission patch, like the SpaceX Crew-5 patch that Mann wears. Students decorated space cookies, watched rocket demonstrations from Tulsa Rocketry and toured the ISS using virtual reality headsets.

β€œThe learning curve for us β€” with space, with NASA, with gravity β€” has just been exponential,” Superintendent Martin said. “We started at zero, and we just went up and up and up until today.”

Martin said one of their last activities before the Q&A event was a bonfire evening where students, teachers and parents watched the ISS fly overhead. .

β€œWe were all out there, way out in the country, bright night skies,” Martin said. β€œWe saw the astronauts fly for three minutes. And it was so exciting for the kids. They were just amazed, looking up into the sky and seeing the astronauts we’re going to talk to today.

Robyn Rulo is an education consultant with the Osage Nation Department of Education. She said the students also learned Osage words that had to do with space.

Rulo said she hopes the event will help Osage students project themselves into careers as astronauts, researchers or engineers.

It looks like the mission was a success. Fifth grader Joseph Duty asked how Mann could tell when she had reached microgravity. Duty said he needed to know because he might be interested in going to space one day.

β€œThe more we have exposed many of our students to these career paths, the more we show them that the sky is the limit,” Rulo said. β€œBy seeing Nicole Mann in space, they are able to identify our people in space. And now it is possible to reach for the stars.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.


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