Kent Smith

Kent Smith co-founded the Native Explorers Foundation with Mr. Reggie Whitten of the Whitten Burrage Law Firm.  Native Explorers is a non profit organization based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which develops and supports educational programs and partnerships that promote increasing the number of Native Americans in science and medicine. Jeff Hargrave, J.D. is the Executive Director of the Native Explorers.

The Native Explorers program at OSU-Center for Health Sciences is designed around the disciplines of anatomy and vertebrate paleontology to provide an array of hands-on, out of the classroom activities that introduce Native people to science and promote traditional ways and culture.  General themes include climate change, evolution, comparative osteology, stratigraphy, mapping, healthful lifestyles, and Native culture. This educational program is focused on Natives 18 years of age and older, who are interested in higher education.

Other partnerships include scientists and educators from the Chickasaw Nation, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (SNOMNH), the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, the USDA Forest Service (Price District, Price, UT), and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR).  Native and non-native scientists and educators from the USDA Forest Service and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources demonstrate field methods used to manage the local resources and they provide insights into internships and careers as well.

The educators at the Chickasaw Nation’s Division of Education have developed a Jr. Native Explorers club for Native youth ages K-12.  Mentorship for the Chickasaw youth group is provided for by educators at the Chickasaw Nation, scientists and educators at OSU-CHS and SNOMNH.