Indigenous Geographies Working Group


Speakers Series


Gathering at the Shoreline: Redefining Justice Through Coastal Praxis

Dr. Sarah Hunt
University of British Columbia, Canada

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
110 Parker Hall, Haskell Indian Nations University

This presentation centered on methodologies and theories for investigating the nature of justice for Indigenous people within conditions of settler colonialism. Through examples from Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-Chah-Nulth and Coast Salish territories, this talk revealed how collectively enacted cultural practices are being used to produce new knowledge about the nature of justice as expressed in relationships among the ocean, coastal lands, ancestors and kin. In particular, this research asks what we learn about coastal law when we think with the shoreline. Early findings from community-led research demonstrate how justice is being redefined via place-based philosophies of law which position the agency of gender diverse coastal relations at the centre, thereby delinking justice from colonial paternalism. Justice for coastal people is shown to be deeply intertwined with justice for the ocean and life within it, as enacted through coastal practices such as clam digging, fishing, canoeing, and working with cedar.

Vanishing Histories: Greenland, Climate Change and the Threat to Archaeological Heritage

Dr. Hans Harmsen
Greenland National Museum & Archives, Greenland

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Tommaney Library, Haskell Indian Nations University

Greenland, like many other places in the Arctic, is experiencing rapid environmental changes due to a shifting climate. Greenland, like many other places in the Arctic, is experiencing rapid environmental changes due to a shifting climate. These changes are having profound consequences for the survival of Greenland's archaeology. For example, increasing soil temperatures, perennial thawing, coastal and wind erosion, aggressive plant species and human impacts are increasingly causing damage to archaeological sites once known to have excellent preservation. It is not a question anymore of if it will disappear but when.

Exploring the Visual Language of Maps & Data

Dory Tuininga
University of Kansas

Friday, September 21, 2018
317 Lindley Hall

Maps and other graphical representations of data are stories told in visual text. They are creations of art and science; designed to communicate information for us to then analyze and interpret. Performing that analysis, comprehending the stories being told, requires an understanding of the visual language those narratives are written in. This talk examined an assortment of maps and data visualizations to discuss what they’re telling us, and where we are in relation to the map.

Setting a Tribal Research Agenda

Dr. Ed Galindo
University of Idaho

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Burge Union Forum AB

Prof. Ed Galindo (Yaqui, American Indian) and faculty member at the University of Idaho and Associate Director for Education and Diversity for the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium. Dr. Galindo has extensive education and research in working with Native American students. While serving as chairman of the science department on the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Reservation, he was twice elected as the National Indian Teacher of the Year. Dr. Galindo will talk about his long-term collaboration with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe on the conservation of beavers in their traditional territory. His talk explored how universities can collaborate with tribal communities in meeting their research interests.

Following the Pathways of My Ancestors: Living Ancestral Geographies in Aotearoa New Zealand

Dr. Naomi Simmonds
Te Kōtahi Research Institute, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Monday, September 17, 2018
110 Parker Hall, Haskell Indian Nations University

Dr. Naomi Simmonds (Raukawa, Ngāti Huri) is a lecturer with the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, and senior researcher with Te Kōtahi Research Institute, at the University of Waikato. She is engaged in a range of Kaupapa Māori research projects pertaining to whānau (family) wellbeing, decolonising emotions, Māori and Indigenous feminisms, land-based learning, and tribal environmental management. Most recently, Naomi has been awarded a Marsden Fast-Start Grant for research that will retrace her ancestress, Māhinaarangi's footsteps to reconnect with the tribal geographies along this trail. Naomi is a mother to two daughters and most of her spare time is spent at her ancestral home, Pikitū marae, in the South Waikato.

Indigenous Environmental Justice, Knowledge & Law

Dr. Deborah McGregor
Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada

Friday, February 2, 2018
4:00PM PM
317 Lindley Hall

This presentation explored ideas for how to advance the theory and practice of environmental justice (EJ) scholarship by engaging with Indigenous intellectual and legal traditions. By grounding Indigenous EJ in Indigenous epistemological and ontological foundations, a distinct framework will emerge. It is anticipated (and hoped) that such engagement will be lead to a deeper understanding of Indigenous EJ and more importantly how to visualize achieving justice.

Toward Respect and Reciprocity: Ethics in Collaborations across Indigenous Knowledges and Climate Change Science

Professor Kyle Powys Whyte
Michigan State University

Friday, November 22, 2013
3:30 PM
The Commons – Spooner Hall

Indigenous communities in North America, such as federally-recognized tribes, are the populations taking concerted actions to adapt now to some of the current and anticipated impacts of climate change. An important aspect of these concerted actions is collaborations connecting Indigenous communities and public and non-profit institutions that support climate science research. These collaborations present both opportunities and dangers for Indigenous communities, raising ethical concerns between Indigenous and scientific communities and institutions, especially on differences in assumptions about the credibility and use of knowledge. This presentation will cover in detail the history of interactions between Indigenous communities and climate science and the recent ethical concerns expressed especially by Indigenous scholars and leaders. The presentation will conclude with a set of recommendations for climate scientists about appropriate ethical standards based on respect and reciprocity for working across the table with Indigenous communities on understanding climate change impacts.

Urban indigeneity, neighborhood regeneration and indigenous community gardens: An indigenous health initiative?

Dr. Brad Coombes
University of Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 2, 2012
3:30 PM
412 Lindley Hall

Maori – the Indigenous population of New Zealand – supposedly lead an ‘obesity epidemic’ which is both real and constructed according to certain cultural stereotypes and social relations. Recently, the maara kai programme, which aims to establish community food gardens on marae or the consecrated land associated with meeting houses and other Maori facilities, has gained considerable attention as a state response to Maori health problems. The visibility and numeric significance of these gardens has been proclaimed as a new model for health provision within state-community partnerships. In this presentation, I will explore three other explanations for the apparent success of the maara kai programme within the Auckland urban area. First, several Maori communities have appropriated the health emphasis to explore a more holistic approach to community wellbeing which may both complete and problematize state officials’ narrow focus on physical health and obesity. Second, urban marae have exploited the programme to establish political space and to secure resources in a policy and socio-cultural context which otherwise normalizes urban Maori as inauthentic. Third, maara kai are sites and vectors to contest neoliberal governance: Maori have exploited contradictions within neoliberal approaches to service provision to acquire unintended state support for cultural education, neighbourhood regeneration and self-determination projects.

Red and Green: Native Science and the Entangled Ecologies of our Times

Associate Professor Melissa Nelson
American Indian Studies, San Francisco State University

Thursday, December 1, 2011
3:30 PM
The Commons - Spooner Hall

Indigenous Geographies as Challenge and Invitation: Geography for and with Indigenous Peoples

Professor Richard Howitt
Chair of Human Geography, Department of Environment & Geography
Macquarie University, NSW, Australia

Monday, May 9, 2011
4:00 PM
317 Lindley Hall

Academic discussion of Indigenous geographies is generally framed by a series of binaries around notions of presence/absence, possession/dispossession, and rights/charity. By reconsidering each of these binary constructions, this seminar considers the foundations for a new orientation to Indigenous Geographies and Indigenous Rights, and explores how the discipline might respond. Geography’s recent cultural, political, ecological and postmodern turns open opportunities for new engagements with Indigenous peoples, territories and futures. Recognition of Indigenous knowledges and their importance in global cultural diversity and human futures, for example, has fostered a range of responses across geography and the social sciences from serious engagement with Indigenous involvement in biodiversity conservation to development of the ecological humanities as an approach to ontological pluralism. Similarly, development of integrated frameworks for understanding the interplay of environmental and social justice in Indigenous domains has fostered new approaches to participatory social, economic and environmental research in partnerships between Indigenous groups and geographers and other social scientists. In most higher education systems, Indigenous people continue to experience problems of access and exclusion. Higher degree completions of Indigenous students remain relatively rare – and geography has not been particularly successful in fostering high levels of participation and achievement for Indigenous students. Despite the value and relevance of geographical research and frameworks for the struggles of many Indigenous peoples for survival, sustainability and self-determination, the discipline has not emerged as a major qualification target for Indigenous students in many places. Despite the many points of relevance and value in geographical perspectives to Indigenous peoples, establishing geography as a valued partner in education, research and practice, then, is a significant challenge for the discipline.

Rehabilitating the 'Noble Savage': Cultural Turns in Transborder Conservation

Associate Professor Maano Ramutsindela
University of Cape Town
Department of Environmental and Geographical Science
2011 Mandela-Mellon Fellow - W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Harvard

Friday, March 4, 2011
4:00 - 5:00 PM
317 Lindley Hall

Various aspects of the environment, from ground water to the management of air, are increasingly being used to demonstrate the need for managing nature beyond the borders of the state. In fact, the dominant environmental paradigm is replete with propositions for cross-border environmental regimes of one sort or the other. And, culture, as a way of life, has also been incorporated into this paradigm. In this paper I demonstrate the contradictions that arise from attempts to use culture as a justification for transborder conservation and how official wisdom selectively suppresses these contradictions for convenience. I draw on examples from two case studies to argue that proponents of transborder conservation appreciate culture when it suits their purpose but demonize it when it opens up possibilities for environmental justice to which they pay lip service. They appreciate culture in its historical context in order to give conservation projects some credibility while at the same time denying the custodians of cultures a place in those projects. I use these examples to develop a critique on the ideology of transborder conservation and the practices it engenders on the ground, and to challenge contemporary paradigms on society and nature. I conclude that the emergence of cultural transborder conservation areas gives imperialism an indigenous face and also points to new avenues to which critical scholarship should pay attention.

Reflections in the Water: Kiowa Stories, Geographies and New Traditions in the Ever-Changing World

Mark H. Palmer, PhD
University of Missouri-Columbia
Department of Geography

Friday, October 29, 2010
3:00 - 4:15 PM
317 Lindley Hall

People share experiences, lessons, information, and knowledge through stories. Stories and storytelling are important components of Indigenous knowledge systems information systems. In this presentation, I will discuss the geographic thoughts of a father and son through our interpretations of stories and associated places. Both of us have different memories and experiences of the stories and places. Some of the Kiowa mythical stories are well known and contain elements that are shared across many American Indian groups in North America and perhaps beyond. Other stories are historical in that the knowledge and teachings held within the oral literatures are known, collectively, among a single American Indian tribe. And some stories are personal, family-centered. Personal stories add rich textures of place and more content on Kiowa geographic discourse. As we write a book, my father and I are approaching the origin stories, Sun stories, mountain stories, memories of the Sun Dance and new family stories in our own way and within our own personal contexts. In Kiowa we say: é:hàu cáuihè:jègùijè gàu gà sáutjèhà:àl ét àu:màu. 'We are taking the stories in a new direction and adding new ones'. This is our contribution.