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When John Herrington escaped to the space in 2002, he brought a hand-made indigenous flute and an eagle feather, among other significant treasury articles for his patrimony.
As a mission specialist with the National Administration of the Aeronautics and Space, Herrington spent 13 days, 18 hours, 47 minutes at the International Space Station during this task.
The flute and pen of the eagle now reside at Smithsonian in Washington, DC, as Herrington, member of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma, is the only American indigenous who left the Earth orbit, to do a space walk, to be an astronaut.
However, you know other indigenous engineers and scientists are eager to fill out their spatial buttons.
"Many my friends … I want to go to the space, they go to this road, but, as far as I know, there is nobody else," said the 60-year-old retired astronaut between the presentations at the Museum Canadian for Human Rights designed to inspire young people.
He spoke with two groups of students: about 100 of Winnipeg's middle schools assisting the museum and several hundred more through the remote connection video in 15 indigenous communities in the north of Fort Frances, Ont., A Carcross, Yukon .
He said he sees his new mission on Earth firmly based on encouraging children to pursue their dreams and fulfill their potential.
"I have the opportunity to go out and share my story with children who have never had a model to follow. It's not what I want to do. When I came to NASA, they said that you are the first Indian astronaut. Opportunity to play a role I take very seriously … If I can make a difference in someone's life … that makes the difference, "said Herrington.
The Winnipeg event was supported by a partnership between the CMHR and the Association of Information and Communication Technologies of Manitoba, as part of a conference called Disrupted, an annual workshop on the future of work and technology.
Herrington retired from the US space program in 2005, and later went to the highway, bicycling through the continental US to Florida from Washington, a distance of more than 6,700 kilometers. He stopped at all indigenous reservations along the way and explained his story.
The children of the museum on Thursday dig in Herrington with questions, mainly on the space, including technical questions about the speed of launching rockets into the Earth's orbit. A student asked for his opinion on Flat Earth Society; another asked if a child should be born in space, would the baby be a foreigner?
"I would say that it is unique in the history of civilization, but I will not call it" foreigner, "he said to a public audience.
High school graduation rates among Canadians and indigenous Americans increase, but they do not coincide with graduation rates among non-indigenous students, each presentation marks a signposting panel, he said.
"I hope you recognize (this) if I can achieve something like that, they can, too," said Herrington, adding that he has met adults over the years who have told him they heard their story when they were children and that they were inspired .
American indigenous cultures, such as the "monticles builders" of Ohio, captured the higher sciences long before the Europeans arrived. Cultures created pyramids, were erected and designed celestial calendars prepared on the surface of the earth, and that history begins to be appreciated, he said.
The key to success is knowing that you can not do it for yourself; It takes people to help you succeed, said Herrington. Choose a field and find professionals who can spend the time, he told the students.
"I had my parents. I was encouraged to go to school … Once I went to school, I started to get started, because I did not study and motivated people with whom I worked on the practice of mathematics in books and the type of work with which you convinced me to go back to school, "he said.
"Then a knight (escorted on a tour) at the university was a warrior pilot at the (second) world war … and he convinced me to join the navy," said Herrington, which reached the rank of commander.
"People come to your life and make a difference. If I can do that for someone else, then that's what I have to do on Earth."
alexandra.paul @ freepress.mb.ca
Alexandra is a veteran journalist who has covered stories for the free press in Winnipeg since 1987. She has maintained the medical rhythm for almost 17 years, and today she specializes in covering issues related to indigenous peoples. He is among the most versatile journalists of the paper staff.
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