‘This is indiGENIUS’: STEAM Powwow combines engineering and heritage and it’s somehow hilarious and tear-jerking

‘This is indiGENIUS’: STEAM Powwow combines engineering and heritage and it’s somehow hilarious and tear-jerking

When we think of robots, technology, sci-fi, or any such similar, cybernetic-adjacent ideas, it usually doesn’t take long before we arrive at visions of a dystopia. Indeed, the doom mindset is reliant on no genre, but with artificial intelligence becoming a hotter issue with every passing day despite most of the world being aware of the film Jurassic Park, maybe such thoughts can’t be helped.

But maybe they can; IndigeSTEAM and its immaculately wholesome, thoroughly visionary showcase is certainly no proponent of lumping technology in with negativity, and instead is all for merging science with the much more lived-in attitudes of Indigenous culture.

As shown off by TikTok‘s @indigeneer, a group of Indigenous engineering enthusiasts have whipped up a pair of culturally-dressed robots that, at a glance, wouldn’t be out of place in the lower rungs of a BattleBots tournament. But these robots didn’t come to fight; they came to dance, as evidenced by their rhythmic movements and feather-sensitive postures. Indeed, this is one metal powwow.

And it’s all thumbs up from those who have tuned in to this techy little tango, with commenters dubbing the occasion everything from adorable to brilliant to downright awesome, with others wondering when these little droids will be punching their ticket to Lucasfilm; after all, the Force is already strong with them.

That’s because this sweet little event is exemplary of the raison d’être of IndigeSTEAM, the organization giving these ancestor-approved, cyberpunk sock hops their legs. STEM, of course, is quite famously the acronym that encompasses such hard pursuits as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Per the orgnanization’s website, they add an “A” to the acronym to make STEAM, with the new letter standing for such words as arts, architecture, agriculture, or other such instinctive pursuits that Indigenous cultures, with their hefty honor of all things mythopoeic, have always excelled in.

In this way, IndigeSTEAM wishes to harmonize the perspectives of both Indigenous spiritualism and Western science, utilizing each of their strengths to create something truly special. In the Mi’kmaq language, this is referred to as “etuaptmumk,” which translates to “Two-Eyed Seeing.” It’s almost as if — and hear me out here — the world becomes a better place when we commit to learning from and listening to one another, rather than obsessing over who can do things better and who’s superior to whom. The former, after all, is the world that gave us dancing robots.

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