The Sciences

8 Native American Scientists You Should Know

From the NASA astronaut to the accomplished archaeologist, these Indigenous innovators led inspiring lives.

By Marisa SloanNov 16, 2021 4:30 PM
Astronaut John Herrington
Former NASA astronaut John Herrington, of Chickasaw heritage, smiles in the Quest Airlock on the International Space Station in 2002. (Credit: NASA on The Commons/Wikimedia Commons)

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November is Native American Heritage Month, also commonly referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It's a time to celebrate the many traditions and histories of Native people, and we're taking the opportunity to highlight the important contributions that they have made to science. In many instances, these Indigenous innovators — including physicians, engineers, anthropologists, archaeologists and astronauts — overcame challenges unique to all tribal citizens, both historic and current.

Susan La Flesche Picotte

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