Science comes to the Arlee powwow

Science and culture brought together in Arlee

The UM spectrUM Discovery Area and SciNation, its community partner on the Flathead Reservation, will return to the Arlee Powwow with the popular Science Learning Tent July 1-2.

The  powwow, June 29-July 4, serves as a cultural highlight for the reservation’s three tribes. The Science Learning Tent will feature interactive exhibits and hands-on activities led by role models in STEM fields and higher education.

Supported this year by the Simons Foundation, Bonneville Power Administration, the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Science Learning Tent will feature themes that reflect the tribes’ workforce priorities.

Health Science Day on Friday will feature spectrUM’s traveling exhibits, “Hands on Health” and “Brain: The World Inside Your Head,” as well as Tribal Education’s “In Body” exhibit. It will include visits with STEM role models Lizzie Catudio-Garrett from spectrUM’s BrainLab, UM pharmacy students, and scholars in the Tribes’ Healthcare Warriors program.

Happenings at Ecosystems Day

Saturday will include Salish Kootenai College’s Stream Table, spectrUM’s mobile eco-science exhibits created with the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and activities led by the Watershed Education Network. Visitors to the exhibit also will have the opportunity to meet with local STEM role models, including Whisper Camel-Means, Stephanie Gillin, Chauncey Means, and Casey Ryan of the CSKT Natural Resources Department.

“Near-peer” role models from Arlee High School also will guide participants, and admissions representatives from SKC and UM will share information and answer questions.

SciNation, which steers spectrUM’s engagement on the Flathead Reservation, is an organization of STEM and education leaders from Tribal Health, Ronan School District, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Wildlife Management Program and Tribal Education. 

Each year, spectrUM and SciNation share hands-on STEM learning with the Flathead Reservation’s 7,800 youth through in-school pop-up science museums, a Science Bytes program that brings hands-on STEM activities to free breakfast and lunch sites during the summer, and showcases exhibits and activities at health fairs, camps and other community events.

In recognition of its innovative, community-based approach to rural and tribal engagement, spectrUM has received national awards from the Simons Foundation, through the Noyce Foundation’s Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards competition and from the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science.

Inspiring a culture of learning and discovery for all, the spectrUM Discovery Area is an interactive science center located in downtown Missoula. Annually, spectrUM serves more than 55,000 Montanans through in-museum and mobile programming. Since 2006, spectrUM has transported exhibits and educators to 73 schools and public libraries in 31 Montana counties, including all seven American Indian reservations.

More information about spectrUM’s engagement on the Flathead Reservation is online at For more information or to book a school visit, call spectrUM STEM Education Program Manager Jessie Herbert at 406-243-4828 or visit 

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published