American Indian Solutions to Environmental Challenges

Spring 2018
Class Size: 15
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

natural resource policy, public administration
Edward (Ted) Whitesell
geography, environmental studies

Native American Tribes represent a powerful force for environmental and social progress in an age that can seem to be dominated by negative forces within our political economic system. To a significant extent, the Tribes are leaders in fields such as conservation, ecological restoration, and adaptation to climate change. In addition to managing a significant part of the land base, the Tribes possess unique legal tools and the only long-term cultural memory of environmental conditions in this continent. This elective will be of interest to students who will be working as scientists, resource managers, policy makers, and educators addressing pressing environmental issues such as climate change, habitat conservation, ecological restoration, recovery of endangered species, and challenges to human health and environmental quality posed by water, soil, and air pollution. Working in or collaborating with the resource agencies, scientists, and governance structures of American Indian Tribes is increasingly a central task of all environmental professionals. Yet, most of these newly minted environmental professionals have little to no preparation for such work. To be effective, environmental scientists, resource managers, policy makers and educators must understand: (1) treaty law and policy, and Indian land tenure; (2) Tribal accomplishments and current projects in such areas as ecological restoration, habitat conservation, and recovery of endangered species; and (3) the fields of Native science and Indigenous knowledge, and how practitioners engage in what is known as “two-eyed seeing” – a special case of interdisciplinarity that encompasses knowledge acquisition using Western and Native American traditions. The course will address these topics, using a combination of lectures, seminars, case studies, guest lectures and panels, plus a weekend field trip.

Faculty Biography:

Linda Moon Stumpff, MPA, Ph.D., a member of the Apache Tribe, is emeritus faculty who has dedicated her long and varied career to protecting the land and Indigenous knowledge and values. She served in management positions in the National Park Service and USDA Forest Service in the areas of ecosystem planning, park and wilderness management and tribal relations.  The primary foci of her academic work in public policy is international administration and the exploration of local and indigenous knowledge and values as they are expressed through participatory governance institutions, tribal economic initiatives and policy. Linda was a founder of the Tribal Governance track while she served as MPA Director from 1998-2001 and developed the tribal curriculum and governance program in cooperation with tribal leaders, along with new electives in Tribal Forestry, International Environmental Policy and other areas for the MES Program. She continues to develop relevant curriculum on tribal policy and environmental issues emanating from climate change, wildfire and wilderness.  She is co-director, editor, faculty workshop and case writer for the NSF-sponsored the Enduring Legacies Project at The Evergreen State College in the MPA and MES Programs. 

Ted Whitesell, Ph.D. , is a broadly trained cultural geographer with special interests in political ecology and conservation.  As a freshman at the University of Colorado, Ted co-founded the CU Wilderness Study Group. After graduation, Ted ran the Colorado Wilderness Workshop, the only statewide preservation organization at the time. From 1975 to 1985, he was a leader of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, campaigning to secure designation of the first wilderness areas in the Tongass National Forest. He was recognized as the most accomplished environmental leader in the country of 25 years of age or less by the Tyler Foundation.  Later, he earned a Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Berkeley, investigating grassroots proposals for conservation and development in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. Ted came to The Evergreen State College in 1998 and is affiliated with two planning units – Environmental Studies and Sustainability & Justice.  His students published a major book in April 2004, called Defending Wild Washington (The Mountaineers Books). His most recent research was a collaborative investigation of tribal perspectives on marine protected areas in western Washington.



Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.
Class Standing: Graduate
Class Size: 15

Scheduled for: Evening

Final schedule and room assignments:

Advertised schedule:

Monday 6-10 pm

Located in: Olympia