Oregon State Science Pub on Indigenous Stewardship of Forests Feb. 7

Indigenous stewardship of Pacific Northwest forests as a way of increasing forests’ climate resiliency, particularly related to wildfires, will be the topic of Oregon State University’s Science Pub on Feb. 7.

Cristina Eisenberg, a community ecologist and associate dean for inclusive excellence and director of Tribal initiatives in Oregon State’s College of Forestry, and Ashley Russell, a faculty research assistant who works with Eisenberg, will give the talk at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli in Corvallis. It can be viewed in person or online.

Eisenberg is a Latinx and Native American (Apache and Rarámuri) ecologist with a background in Indigenous Knowledge, also known as Traditional Ecological Knowledge, a body of observations, oral and written knowledge, innovations, practices, and beliefs developed by Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples through interaction and lived experience with the environment. It is informed by cultural practices and memories, an innate sensitivity to and ongoing awareness of change.

Russell is Miluk Coos and Pamunkey descendent, an enrolled citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians and assistant director of culture and natural resources for the Tribes.

Climate change, land use shifts related to Euro-American settlement and the related elimination of Indigenous cultural stewardship practices, including cultural burning to manage landscapes, are increasing the size and severity of wildfires in North America, they note.

They will discuss how Indigenous Knowledge and western science can come together in a manner that honors Tribal sovereignty rights. They will talk about their work with federal agencies and the White House to braid together Indigenous Knowledge and western science – an idea called Two-Eyed Seeing – to help us heal the damage done to the nation’s forests by settler colonialism.

They will use their personal stories about forests, grounded in Indigenous knowledge and multiple ways of knowing, to illustrate how values of reciprocity, cultural humility, and a Seventh Generation approach can help find a better path for forests and humanity. Seventh Generation is an Indigenous Haudenosaunee principle that decisions made today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future.

Registration is required to attend Science Pubs. Here are links to register for the event in person or online.

The Old World Deli is located at 341 SW 2nd St., Corvallis.

Sponsors of Science Pub include the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Old World Deli, Oregon State’s Research Office and Oregon State University.

By Sean Nealon

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