Throughout 2017, I worked with members of North Carolina's tribal communities to understand what the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline means for indigenous peoples. The people I worked with belong to the Lumbee, Coharie, Haliwa-Saponi, and other tribes. This work merged my service on the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs' Environmental Justice Committee with my growing research interest in the interface between indigenous knowledges and western science. I also interacted with federal, state, and tribal government officials and with corporate leaders representing the pipeline developer. Our discussions covered a wide range of environmental, economic, and cultural issues relating to the pipeline proposal. The journal Science published a summary of my work here. (If you don't have a subscription you can access a PDF here.)
Earlier this week, I gave the following address at the opening General Assembly of the 2017 North Carolina Indian Unity Conference. The conference has been held annually since 1976 to bring together leaders and other members of North Carolina's eight recognized tribes.
Ryan here. This blog has become stale, but it doesn't mean that my group has been idle. On the contrary, during the past several months, we've been working on a number of research, teaching, and outreach projects of interest to the Native community. Research projects include studying water quality in the Lumbee community after Hurricane Matthew and modeling the impacts of climate and land use change on water in the Lumbee River basin. The former is part of a new collaboration with UNC Chapel Hill and Rosalind Franklin University, and the latter is an ongoing partnership with the US Forest Service. Jocelyn Painter and I presented some of the results from this modeling study at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting last month. I also presented early excerpts of this work during invited seminars in Reston, VA, Pocatello, ID, and Boulder, CO
Over the past few months, my research group at NC State has been working on a project to combine environmental research with education and outreach among American Indian communities in North Carolina. We are just getting off the ground, but my vision is that this blog will serve as an informal window into our work. Links to scientific research, science news and other scientific resources will appear elsewhere on this site. I hope to use the blog as a tool for placing our own research and other resources found on this website in a culturally relevant context. It may take on other roles, too, as the project evolves.
In the next blog post, one of my undergraduate research assistants (Jocelyn Painter) introduces her project to model the effects of land use and climate change on water resources important to the Lumbee. Her work, which is funded in part by the US Forest Service, aims to connect science and engineering students at NC State with university and Forest Service scientists and the Lumbee community through research and outreach activities. You'll find photos and information about our outreach activities as well as other items of interest on our News page, which is maintained by research assistant Michael Sanderson.
Stay tuned for updates about Jocelyn's work and other projects, check back periodically for links to news and other relevant information provided by Michael, and look for us in person at powwows and conferences around the region. Please feel free to visit our Contact page to send feedback and comments.