Indigenous Peoples’ Day brings new voices to campus

September 11, 2017
Robin Kimmerer

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of History will host its third annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Lecture, “The Honorable Harvest: Indigenous Knowledge for Biodiversity Conservation,” on Monday, Oct. 9 in the Nohr Gallery from 6-7:30 p.m. All are welcome.

At the lecture, Dr. Robin Kimmerer, a mother, plant ecologist, writer and distinguished teaching professor at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, will challenge students, faculty, staff and community members to consider the links between traditional Native American attitudes toward the environment and traditional science.

One of the topics she will discuss is how indigenous ways of knowing can inform scientific and conservation efforts and how scientific studies can help First Nations peoples. These goals are especially relevant in Wisconsin, where the College of Menominee Nation works with UW-Platteville in its engineering program to welcome more Native youth into fields requiring science.

Kimmerer has dedicated her life to building vital links between Native American cultures and the scientific community. She serves as founding director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, whose mission is to create programs that draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for shared goals of sustainability.

Kimmerer was invited to speak by Dr. Eugene Tesdahl, assistant professor of history at UW-Platteville, and Dr. Evan Larson, associate professor of geography at UW-Platteville. Tesdahl started the Indigenous Peoples’ Day lectures in 2015 in an effort to bring more indigenous and Native North American voices to the university.

“It is vital for our students not only to study the contributions of indigenous Americans in historical contexts but to contemplate the contributions of accomplished contemporary Indigenous leaders – from political activists and chief executive officers to entrepreneurs and research scientists like Dr. Kimmerer,” said Tesdahl. “The UW-Platteville Indigenous Peoples’ Day lecture ensures they have this opportunity.”

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Kimmerer visit UW-Platteville,” said Larson. “Her ideas and writing are inspirational and beautifully integrate diversity in thought, action and understanding on environmental issues. I strongly encourage all of our students and staff, and particularly those engaged with ideas of diversity and sustainability, to attend her lecture to build the dialogue on campus about how we can incorporate multiple ways of understanding our world to enrich ideas and approaches to education, sustainability and the creation of a just society.”

Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, Communications Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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