Natives Who Code

We would like to generously thank our sponsors at the Arizona Department of Education, UArizona's Indigenous Resilience Center, UArizona's College of Education, the Agnese Nelms Haury Program, the Pascua Yaqui tribal education and TUSD's Native American Student Services, AISES, Indigitize, the Kapor Center and Google. Thank you!

Natives Who Code endeavors to co-create an Indigenized computer science curriculum, with Southern Arizona tribal nations. Starting with listening circles, we aim to help facilitate a vision of success for today's youth, from the tribal communities perspective. Using this foundation, we aim to support educators who teach computer science or coding to Native youth in Southern Arizona with a week long professional development training in culturally sustaining computer science pedagogy. During this grant cycle, we will work with 10 educators and with a projected impact of 300 native youth.

Below are the components of the project:

Create an Indigenized computer science curriculum

for Southern Arizona educators of Native youth that center the needs and cultural priorities of Southern Arizona Tribal Nations. We will do this by working with consultants from Southern Arizona Tribal communities in order to understand their educational needs and cultural priorities for their youth.

Create and implement a 5-day professional development workshop

highlighting Indigenized computer science education. We will accomplish this by working with the UArizona College of Education team on Indigenizing education, invested community partners and an Indigenous computer science teacher educator.

Provide site leads at each school district

who understand the Indigenized approach to education and to computer science education, who will help to recruit students into the CS course, help to communicate the goals to family members and stakeholders, and help to leverage resources and opportunities (i.e., field trips, classroom guest experts, career exploration) that align with Indigenized computer science curriculum.

Develop and implement an ongoing, educator support program

for educators who teach Indigenized computer science education in order to support their learning, teaching, and leadership journeys. We will use as an example the Educators in Data Sciences Fellowship model that was developed and is currently implemented by the UArizona Data Sciences Academy K-14 Committee.) Our support will include monthly check-ins

  • Indigenized education (supported by the College of Education team)
  • Indigenized computer science content (supported by the Data Sciences team)
  • Technology support (by the IT/Technology coordinator)
  • Classroom successes and activities
  • Upcoming opportunities

Build a community of learning

for Indigenized computer science educators of Native youth by connecting them to other educators through:

  • Attending the Four Corners Computer Science Convening
  • Attending the NAYEE conference
  • Attending the Indian Education Stakeholders Summit
  • Membership to AISES and connections to their computer science community
  • Introduction to the Computer Science Teacher Association - Arizona

Develop and implement internship opportunities

for Native youth who complete the Indigenized computer science course (through the Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O’odham Tribal offices of Education and Work Force Development). Opportunities may include:

  • Industry
  • Local businesses
  • Community partnerships
  • Tucson Indian Center
  • UArizona's Native American Science & Engineering Program (NASEP)
  • Pima County
  • UArizona's MESCIT Program
  • Tucson Native Youth Council
  • National Park Service
  • NOIR Lab
  • Native Seed Search
  • San Xavier Co-op Farm
  • Kapor Center
  • Pima Community College
  • Tohono O'odham Community College

Teacher Participants will be supported with

  • A classroom set of computers
  • A classroom set of educational technology
  • A centralized server computer to host student projects, such as websites.
  • Technical support through an IT/Technology Coordinator

Expected Outcomes

10 Southern Arizona computer science educators who:

  • understand how computer science education supports the needs and cultural priorities of Native youth, families, and communities in Southern Arizona, and
  • are proficient at implementing the Indigenized computer science curriculum, and
  • become teacher leaders in Indigenized computer science education

300 Native youth who have:

  • completed a course in computer science, and
  • are aware of how computer science can meet the needs and cultural priorities of their communities, and
  • have internship opportunities using their computer science skills.

20 Tribal Community Members who:

  • contribute to and co-create a culturally-centered computer science curriculum for the youth in their communities, and

  • feel valued and respected for their shared knowledge, and

  • are committed to uphold computer science pathways for the youth in their communities.

Contact us for more information for how you can get involved! Email

Presented at the Indigenous Resilience Center, 2023 Tribal Environmental Health Forum.