Student-Originated Studies: Tribal Marine Policy and Sciences

Fall Open
Class Standing
Pauline Yu

The Pacific Ocean is a vast entity that intersects with the long history of its varied peoples and ocean-inhabiting organisms. The intersection of indigenous life at the coast with the history of US settler colonialism has played out in complex ways well beyond the facts of scientific inquiry, legal frameworks and lived experiences.

The fundamental premise of this program is that human beings are embedded in their ecological systems. We will examine themes and narratives of sustainability, restoration, and remediation. We will also examine marine sciences, policy, law, and politics from multiple perspectives. Our inquiry in the sciences will be informed by the topics that are relevant to the survival of indigenous life and culture. We will define and consider the ways that traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) has informed tribal natural resources management and is closely linked with environmental and climate justice for all life on the planet. Included in this inquiry is how the embedded knowledge of organisms and the environment is an integrated whole with cultural practices, and what the European-colonizer scientific tradition can learn from these approaches and contribute to the survival of these practices.

Fundamental to this SOS will be student engagement and direction in investigating issues of food sovereignty, conservation vs preservation, health and sustainability, and political power over the marine realm where it meets land. Students will learn through readings, lab activities, field trips, legal case research, and assigned films. Opportunities for capstone research will be group and individual investigations, comprised of case studies in tribal sovereignty and marine resource management, and policy paper writing.


Students should have taken a quarter of Introduction to Environmental Studies, or 12 credits of equivalent coursework (includes environmental humanities, related social sciences, and introductory level environmental sciences). Students should also be able to demonstrate familiarity with foundational level skills in quantitative literacy (e.g. algebra, graph interpretation, basic spreadsheet data functions) and library research.



Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (16): 10391

Academic Details

Natural resources management; federal, state, and tribal governments; non-profit organizations; policy analysis.


$250 total fee: $200 for an overnight fieldtrip, $50 required lab fee

8 upper division science credits in "Marine Natural Resources" and "Conservation Ecology" may be awarded upon demonstration of specified upper division level program work in science.

Students will participate in independent and group research on case studies and marine policy writing in Fall quarter.


In Person (F)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
SEM 2 D2109 - Seminar