2012 Conference

2012 Indigenous Communities and Climate Change Conference

Indigenous people are disproportionately affected by climate change and natural disasters, yet they are often marginalized from policy and academic discussions. Moreover, discussion of indigenous people and climate change opens up much broader discussion about environmental epistemologies across diverse cultures, as well as environmental management, race and class dynamics, and the intersection of local, national, and global issues.

On May 23rd and 24th, 2012, the University of Oregon and its Robert D. Clark Honors College  hosted a student-focused conference on “Indigenous People, Climate Change, and Environmental Knowledge.” The Conference was held in conjunction with a new upper division Robert D. Clark Honors College course taught by Professor Mark Carey on “Climate and Culture in the Americas” during Spring 2012.  For more information on the Climate Course, click here or on the Climate Course tab above.

At the conference, students from a diversity of disciplines presented research related to climate and culture in the Americas. Students presented their research in either oral paper panels or poster sessions, and a broader local and regional community was invited to participate, including American Indian and Alaska Native students from tribal colleges and others from native communities. This conference was part of a series of events on Indigenous Peoples in the Americas during academic year 2011-2012 sponsored by the Americas in a Globalized World Big Idea.

Conference Goals:

— Facilitate interaction among native and non-native communities on climate change, environmental, and cultural issues

— Increase knowledge of non-native students about climate change and indigenous peoples

— Foster discourse between indigenous leaders and students

— Put climate change and indigenous peoples issues into comparative international context (by focusing on issues throughout the Americas)

— Provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to present research and gain professional experience

— Expose the UO community to issues related to indigenous peoples and climate change

Keynote Speakers

The 2012 Conference began on May 23rd with a Keynote Address given by Dr. Daniel Wildcat (Haskell Indian Nations University) and Larry Merculieff (Seven Generations Consulting). Watch their streamed keynote address here.

Dr. Daniel Wildcat, Haskell Indian Nations University

Dr. Daniel Wildcat is a Professor of American Indian Studies at Haskell Indian Nations University.  He has worked extensively on climate change issues and has been instrumental in creating opportunities for students to research climate, science, and cultural topics.

Larry Merculieff, Seven Generations Consulting

Larry Merculieff has almost four decades of experience serving his people, the Aleuts of the Pribilof Islands and other Alaska Native peoples in a number of capacities.  He works on climate and environmental issues, has won numerous honors and awards, and is currently part of Seven Generations Consulting and the Deputy Director of the Alaska Native Science Commission.

Student Presenters and Projects

May 24th was dedicated to the students – who presented research in either oral paper panels or poster sessions. Click here for student projects.

Student presenters: Natasha Steinmann, Mary Kennedy, Elise Downing, Carson Viles, Forrest Callaghan, Lehua Ka’uhane, Christa Linz, Kelsey Stilson, Madeline Culhane, Hillary Boost, Frances Bursch, Weston Cooper, Shannon Ferry, Ethyn Kelley, Kylie Loutit, Paul Metzler, Mia Schauffler, Benjamin Stone, Inga Suneson, and Laura Vigeland.


The conference was sponsored by the following University of Oregon programs:

Americas in a Globalized World Big Idea

Robert D. Clark Honors College

Environmental Studies Program

Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies

College of Arts and Sciences

Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity

Latin American Studies

USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Climate Change Research Group

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