Karletta Chief, an associate professor and extension specialist in the UArizona Department of Environmental Science and director of the new center, pushes a soil sample tube into the Hogback Irrigation Canal near Waterflow, New -Mexico, on the Navajo Nation in 2017. Image: University of Arizona/Courtesy of Chief Karletta
The University of Arizona is launching a new interdisciplinary center that will partner with Native American nations to work on projects that address environmental issues.
Called the Center for Indigenous Resilience, the program will be a partnership between Indigenous Nations and the University Institutes of Resilience in Arizona, the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, and several faculty members and academic programs that focus on supporting the resilience of Indigenous communities.
Faculty and staff at the center will work directly with tribal leaders and governments to co-design community-driven solutions that address issues facing Indigenous communities, such as climate change. Projects will focus on areas such as agriculture, solar energy, off-grid water resources, food resources, native plant adaptation, and health.
Karletta Chief, professor emeritus of academic outreach in environmental science at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will serve as the center’s director. According to the announcement: “Chief, who is Diné, is an associate environmental science co-operative extension specialist who has a long history of working in partnership with indigenous communities on projects that address the environmental challenges and water insecurities facing face the tribes.”
The University of Arizona will recruit several new faculty members, all with a STEM background and all with training and experience in Indigenous cultures, histories, and traditions. Faculty members at the center will lead research projects and design courses that combine traditional STEM education with topics such as indigenous and indigenous knowledge, tribal consultation, research ethics, resource management natural resources, tribal environmental health, etc.
“The Indigenous Resilience Center demonstrates the University of Arizona’s commitment to finding solutions to environmental issues in partnership with tribes. It will deepen our impact, strengthen our signature strengths and draw global attention to how world-class research universities can better serve Indigenous communities. said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins.
“The Center for Indigenous Resilience is the University of Arizona’s commitment to giving back to the local tribes who have stewarded this land for millennia and endured and sacrificed so much. research based on their priorities and long local knowledge, and that approaches involve decolonized and indigenized approaches with Indigenous scientists actively leading these efforts. In addition, Resilience Partnerships will aim to engage students who wish to give back to their communities through action-oriented, solution-oriented community projects.”