Water/Ways: Teacher Resources

Email aviolett@cdkc.edu or call 406-477-8293 to schedule a class or group visit.

Smithsonian Provided Educational Supplements

Indigenous Methods of Instruction by Marissa Spang

The conversation around water and its role in our lives on Planet Earth is vast and includes everyone. The Northern Cheyenne have made numerous academic contributions to the scholarly conversation around water. Through studies and research publications, the water conversation would not be complete without the contributions made from individuals and institutions right here on the Northern Cheyenne Nation.

Cheyenne Scholars Academic Contributions

Chauncey Means is currently the Water Quality Administrator for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (Tribes) on the Flathead Indian Reservation (Reservation). Chauncey is a Northern Cheyenne Tribal member from southeastern Montana. He earned his Associate of Science Degree from Chief Dull Knife College on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in southeastern Montana, a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies emphasis in Water Resources from the University of Montana, Missoula, and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies emphasis Water Resources from the University of Montana.

His research included using silica polyamine composites to mitigate arsenic water contamination on streams on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Chauncey has produced over 30 technical reports for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Tribal funded grants during his time with the Tribes. He is the lead water quality professional staff member for the Tribes’ Natural Resources Department for all water quality related activities on the Reservation, as well as off Reservation activities that affect water quality on the Reservation. Funding sources for the last two years include EPA funded water quality grants, non-point source base funding and non-point source competitive funded restoration projects. He also actively participates in all non-point source and water quality EPA Tribal and regional conferences and has presented in regional, Tribal and local conferences and virtual trainings. During his free time, Chauncey enjoys fishing and watching sports with his wife and three children.

Shanny Spang Gion is Northern Cheyenne, Crow, and also of German heritage. She was raised in Lame Deer, MT and is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation.  Her parents are Alan and Joleen Spang and she is the second oldest of seven children. Shanny and her husband, Jake Gion, have three children - Carter, Jessa, and Adrian. 

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Montana State University and a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (Geoscience and Technical Communication) from Montana Technological University.  

Currently, Shanny is a Visiting Tribal Scholar with the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources.  Her work as a Visiting Tribal Scholar (VTS) involves relationship building with tribal nations, exploring curriculum development in Indigenous Research Methods and Indigenous Knowledge Systems, developing research collaborations with tribes, faculty development, and mentoring students.  Previously, Shanny worked for 11 years for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe government in natural resources and water resources management, with work experience extending from water research and planning to tribal water law implementation.  

Her interests include Indigenous science and ways of knowing, Native nation building and re-building, water governance, decolonizing philosophies, Indigenous Research Methods, Indigenous Research Paradigms, climate science, and rebuilding relationships with water.  Outside of professional work, she enjoys helping her kids develop their critical thinking skills and athletic ability, reading, and spending time with her relatives, both human and more-than-human.

Pevehe-ene’setovoostahe, Oestone’e na’hesevehe. Good afternoon, my name is Danielle Freemont and my Cheyenne name means Gives-Gifts-to-the-Spirits. 

I graduated from Chief Dull Knife College in 2015 with an Associates of Science. While attending CDKC, I was a research intern and a member of the rocket club. Our rocket team, the Morning Stars, traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin where we won the tribal competition. The prize was a trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Afterwards, I was selected to attend and speak at the Space Grant Consortium conference in Washington, D.C. and met Bill Nye “the science guy”. Truthfully, I never did well in science classes throughout elementary and highschool. There seemed a disconnect between student and institution that the college was able to bridge in order to provide those valuable foundations of STEM. Accredit to smaller classes, great teachers and access to resources. 

Confidently, I applied for the Wildlife Biology program at the University of Montana and was accepted. The University of Montana has one of the best wildlife biology programs in the country. The classes were intimidating and challenging but they furthered my understanding of how the world works. I scored a summer job at the Yellowstone National Park spraying invasive plant species as a partnership between the park and the UM’s Native American Natural Resource Program. The next summer, I worked for the Cheyenne Tribe as a Natural Resource Technician and mapped prairie dog towns throughout the reservation. One of the most influential opportunities I took part in was being a recipient of the Native Student Professional Developmental program. Each year the Native Peoples Wildlife Management Working Group of the Wildlife Society selects a handful of undergraduate and graduate students to attend the Wildlife Society conference. This specific opportunity opened my eyes to the need for tribal perspectives and participation in wildlife management. I attended the conference while it was hosted in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cleveland, Ohio and Spokane, Washington. I earned my Bachelor's of Science degree in Wildlife Biology as a member of the graduating class of 2018. 

Today, I am a scientific technician for the Westmoreland Rosebud Mine in Colstrip, MT, going on 5 years this summer. My job focus now involves mainly hydrology but also other natural resource aspects of mine operations. I would like to thank Chief Dull Knife college for providing a much needed launchpad to the next level. I would also like to thank the Westmoreland Rosebud Mine Northern Cheyenne student scholarship for funding my time as an undergraduate. Also, I would like to thank my children for being my inspiration and motivation. "Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning " - Bruce Lee. 

Aroscott "Scott" Whiteman is currently serving as the Data Operations Section Chief for the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center (WY-MT WSC). In this role, Scott is responsible for overall real-time data quality for the USGS in Wyoming and Montana, supervises four Field Office Chiefs and re-hired annuitants working for the section, and must have a constant awareness of the status of the following: all gages in the Center with serious operational issues, readiness of the field offices for flood and other special operations, and hydrologic conditions (past, present and forecasted) in the Center’s area of responsibility, and helps write WSC data-collection policies and quality-assurance procedures. Prior to being the DOSC, Scott served as the Helena Field Office chief, overseeing field operations and data processing in western Montana. He also served as the Boundary Waters Specialist for the WY-MT WSC, where he worked with Water Survey Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada on the apportionment of natural flow on the St. Mary and Milk Rivers as well as the Eastern Tributaries of the Milk River (Lodge Creek, Battle Creek, and Frenchman River) and reported to the Accredited Officers of the St. Mary and Milk Rivers and the International Joint Commission. As the Boundary Waters Specialist, he also worked with WSC and ECCC on the apportionment of streamflow on the Poplar River and served as a member of the Poplar River Bilateral Monitoring Committee ensuring water quality on the East Poplar River. Early in his career, Scott worked as a hydrologic technician in the Billings Field Office collecting and processing streamflow data and water-quality samples. Scott has a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Montana State University-Billings. During his free time, Scott enjoys following his kids around to sporting events they are involved in and trying to relax at home.