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Oklahoma Native Americans searching for shuttle debris

Updated:
(Oklahoma City-AP) -- Crews of Oklahoma American Indians are helping NASA beat the clock in finding debris from the fallen space shuttle Columbia.

In about a month, spring foliage will set in, making the task even more daunting.

The crews come from nine Oklahoma tribes.

They, along with other crews, are combing one- to two-mile grids of land in East Texas, looking for shuttle debris.

So far, they say they have found plenty.

The searches go on rain or shine, through thick forests, swampland and thorny briar patches.

To keep up morale, NASA has sent astronauts to sign autographs and thank the search crews.

Craig McGirt, a Seminole, says he hopes the effort will dispel negative stereotypes of American Indians.
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