Welcome to IndigenousRobotics.com!

The Robotics Education and Competition Foundation has partnered with Google.org and native tribes across the U.S. to bridge a technological and educational divide that exists in many indigenous communities. Through robotics programming, we hope to empower and inspire students to see themselves as the next generation of STEM leaders, both on and off of tribal lands.
By weaving a rich native culture with modern technology and equipping students with the tools they need to thrive in the future workforce, we strive to create a more equitable society for all.

A Message from Suzanne DePoe

Suzanne DePoe
Grant Support Specialist, REC Foundation
Citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz
Tututni, Southern Cheyenne, and Turtle Mountain Ojibwe
“I see native culture and technology living together. As we appreciate and honor a culture that's been passed down through generations from time immemorial to now, we must recognize that a new digital age has come upon us. For those community members that have built their own businesses, there is a huge need to have a digital presence, and these young students can help if they have the right tools to do so.

By learning skills like coding and drone piloting, they can bring tribal members online and use drones to manage tribal lands. There's a tremendous amount of looking towards the future and seeing a path forward to make a sustainable living as soon as students graduate from high school - something that was incredibly hard to attain before. REC Foundation programming feeds into what's possible. It's endless.”

Building Hope through Robotics

Inspiring Indigenous Youth in STEM

Discover inspiring stories from the Indigenous Robotics program, where students share their journeys of learning and growth. Watch how the program is transforming lives by providing access to cutting-edge STEM education, fostering innovation, and empowering indigenous youth to become leaders in their communities. Through hands-on experiences with robotics, coding, and drone piloting, these students are building hope and a brighter future for themselves and their tribes.

Robotics Education & Competition Foundation

Mission & Vision

Mission

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation’s global mission is to provide every educator with competition, education, and workforce readiness programs to increase student engagement in science, technology, engineering, math, and computer science.

Vision

We see a future where every student designs and innovates as part of a team, overcomes failure, perseveres, and emerges confident in their ability to meet global challenges.

Native Voices in Robotics

Maj. Moraes John

“The Governor of New Mexico saw us on TV because we qualified for Drone Nationals, and she put funding away for us. It opened up a door to where they could use that funding to have a NASA engineer work with us during our elective hour during school. So we'll be learning how to code with Python, the coding they use at Tesla.”

JROTC Student
Farmington, New Mexico

Trish Miller

“I feel like we as native people have a resiliency built within us. And by that I mean, anyone you talk to here, they'll bring that resiliency. We just have this rubber band effect. They can stretch us so far, but we'll come back. When students build their robots, they could fail. They'll see that as a negative experience and they'll be like, “Oh, I don't want to be here anymore. I don't want to be on this team anymore.” Yet they still come back.

STEM Tech, Apache Behavioral Health Services
San Carlos Apache

Myra Mendez

“What I like about the Aerial Drone Competition is the fact that you need to have a pilot and a spotter working together. When the drone is behind the blackout curtain, the pilot is not able to see where to land, so they rely on the spotter’s voice commands. I like to see the interaction between the pilot and the spotter because it gets students talking and it gets them to be loud.”

Robotics Coach, Mescalero Elementary
Mescalero Apache

Mario Lee

“One thing for us as far as native people is that we are really good with our hands and a lot of our kids are like that. And so when it came to building the robot, just a lot of them had that natural ability to build it, to put it together, and then to actually driving it. A lot of the kids picked it up really fast.”

STEM Educator, Robotics Coach, Seven Mile Elementary School
Navajo Nation, Chinle, AZ

Contact

If you would like to learn more and get involved with the Indigenous Robotics, contact Suzanne DePoe at suzanne_depoe@recf.org.

4th Annual Southwest Native American Showcase

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