On the education front, I taught a course last summer on Indigenous Knowledge as part of NCSU's Native Education Forum. The Forum brought indigenous high school students to campus for a week and gave them a taste of the university experience (in hopes that they will apply to NCSU). Last fall, I took my watershed hydrology class on an overnight field trip to visit the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe in Hollister, NC. My students listened to stories from tribal elders, ate frybread, and practiced field hydrology skills alongside students from the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School.
In terms of outreach, I had the honor of participating in a congressional briefing, sponsored by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, where I highlighted the importance of water to indigenous peoples. You can find a video of the congressional briefing at the end of this post. Earlier in the year, I led a workshop on environmental justice at the NC Indian Unity Conference with NCSU social scientist Louie Rivers, and I had an opportunity to speak at a special Water is Life event sponsered by the Triangle chapter of 350.org. I also wrapped up my term on North Carolina's Advisory Council on Indian Education in 2016, serving as one of two representatives for the UNC system. I learned much about K12 education while serving on the council, and I am excited about an ongoing project to develop a continuing education module for NC teachers based on their web resources on culturally responsive instruction. On top of this, I've been following events concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline conflict and may repost my thoughts or writings from social media or other outlets.
So all of this leads up to my latest project. I am on sabbatical for the first part of 2017, and my main objective is to make progress on a book that I started writing last year. After sharing some early material at the Southeast Indian Studies Conference in Pembroke, NC and at the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Colloquium in Chapel Hill, I wrote and presented a full chapter of this book last fall at the American Society for Ethnohistory conference in Nashville, TN. This was a great experience (both writing and presenting), and I look forward to spending more time on this type of scholarship. This doesn't mean that my other work will fall by the wayside. I have an awesome lab group that continues to pursue novel research in ecohydrology through fieldwork, modeling, and data analyses. Together with our collaborators, we expect to publish new research in 2017 on coastal salinization, land-atmosphere carbon fluxes, continental trends in water cycling, and more. In the meantime, be on the lookout for more updates here on environmental issues concerning American Indians in North Carolina and elsewhere.