Nicole Mann Speaks to Native Americans from the International Space Station
On February 7, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Congressional Native American Caucus hosted a live discussion with Colonel Nicole Mann, who spoke with them remotely from the International Space Station in orbit of Earth.
Colonel Mann is a member of the Wailacki of Round Valley Indian Tribes, and is the first Native American woman to go to space. She holds a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering, is a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, a test pilot for fighter aircraft, and deployed in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afganistan.
Throughout the broadcast, Mann fielded questions from Tribal representatives, asked on behalf of Tribal youth.
“It is an honor to represent Native Americans on the International Space Station,” said Mann, “and I hope that we can reach out to the younger generation and inspire some children that would like to be engineers or scientists.”
She encouraged Tribal youth to follow their dreams, despite any hardships they may encounter along the way. Opportunities are there, but oftentimes, we need the help of others to reach them.
“The advice I would give to children who have this passion, or are interested in this field, is to try to find some other resources in the school, neighborhood, or online that can help you learn more about this field and grow that passion. The longer that you study, the more in-depth that you put time toward these fields, the more you will find opportunities. There are many different paths to achieving those dreams, and it begins with education.”
She also spoke about overcoming the difficulties that life presents.
“Some people view these setbacks as failures, but you need to look at them as learning opportunities. You may have self-doubt, but that’s okay, that is part of growing up, part of life. Again, it’s reaching out to people, surrounding yourself with people that can help you, that can give you the encouragement to pick yourself back up and move forward. It took a lot of studying, a lot of practice, and there were a lot of setbacks, but it’s that perseverance in life that will keep you moving forward.”
The discussion can be viewed online here: www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/downlink-nasa-astronaut-nicole-mann (beginning around timestamp 14:30) and here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9VQfJGyG4g.