Indigenous Leadership and Partnerships in Estuary Stewardship

Date and Time: 
Fri 2/17/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm EST
Speaker(s): 
Lea Anne Burke, Tehani Malterre, Alice Yeates, Ashley Russell, Deanna Erickson, and Bree Turner
Location: 
Webinar

As highly productive social-ecological systems, estuaries have continuously been central to Indigenous lifeways. Indigenous science, stewardship practices, and co-management can strengthen well-being for lands, waters, and people. This session advances understanding of the concerns of Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Nations to help coastal practitioners address social and environmental justice with a focus on Pacific Northwest coastal systems. Presenters share ways that land stewards can support thriving relationships with estuaries, sustaining cultural knowledge and practices.

Tribal Nations are sovereign governments with needs distinct from other coastal stakeholders. Estuarine lands and waters in the US may have been ceded via treaties, remain unceded, or ceded with important rights retained. While formal government-to-government consultation with Tribal governments or Indigenous governance organizations is required by certain state or federal policies, other types of tribal engagement can still be rigorous, productive, and supportive of conservation and restoration goals. Learn from examples at the South Slough Reserve, Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, Siuslaw, the NOAA EPP/MSI program, and the Puget Sound Partnership.

Learn more about the speakers:

Lea Anne Burke is the Tribal Affairs Manager for the Puget Sound Partnership, the agency's first point of contact for tribal governments. She works to maintain and improve intergovernmental relations, develop protocols, create engagement opportunities, and build deep relationships with tribal nations. A graduate of The Evergreen State College and the University of Washington, Lea Anne has a background in tribal land use planning, landscape architecture, city governance, natural resources management, environmental restoration, and Native community development. She was an expert advisor and co-presenter on this project.

Tehani Malterre is a senior undergraduate student studying Global Environmental Science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Tehani is in her second year as a NOAA EPP/MSI (Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions) scholar. After graduating, she hopes to study ecosystems ecology or conservation biology in graduate school. She was an expert advisor and co-presenter on this project.

Alice Yeates is the Stewardship Coordinator at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Alice has a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Queensland and one of her primary roles at the Reserve is to coordinate restoration projects. Alice works closely with Tribal partners to practice co-stewardship at the Reserve and her role in this project was to communicate about one of these partnerships. She was an expert advisor and co-presenter on this project.

Ashley Russell is an Oregon State University (OSU) graduate of Environmental Sciences with an emphasis on Fisheries and Wildlife Science and recently completed her Herbal Immersion Program through the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine. She is also a Miluk Coos Tribal Member and enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw and Indians (CTCLUSI). She has worked for her Tribe in many capacities over the last 8 years and was recently promoted to Assistant Director of the Culture and Natural Resources Department on Summer Solstice of this year. Her personal goal is to help Tribal members reclaim their medicine. She was an expert advisor and co-presenter on this project.

Deanna Erickson is the director (and previously, the first education coordinator) at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve. She leads a dedicated team who conducts research, education, outreach and stewardship along Lake Superior estuaries, focusing on the St. Louis River in Superior within the 1842 and 1854 Ceded Territory of the Ojibwe. She coordinated, moderated and sought funding for a dedicated session focused on Indigenous leadership in estuary stewardship at the 2022 Restore America’s Estuaries Summit, from which this presentation is derived.  

Bree Turner is a Senior Coastal Management Specialist on contract with NOAA's Office for Coastal Management to support the National Estuarine Research Reserves. She has 20 years of diverse experience working in the coastal management sector with federal governments, non-profits, state agencies, Tribal governments and universities. She has a Bachelor of Science from The Evergreen State College and a Master's degree from University of California - Davis. Bree was a co-coordinator and advisor on this project.

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