Tag Archive for: Native American Studies

Fellowship recipients in new NAS-SOULA initiative

SOU programs collaborate to create fellowship opportunity

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Native American Studies (NAS) program and the SOU Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA) have created a competitive fellowship that promotes collaboration between the two programs and recognizes the research and learning that spans both.

This year’s inaugural fellowship – which is funded by SOULA – was awarded to SOU undergraduates Kayla Dumore and Charlie Zimmermann, and will support their work with the Shasta Takelma Learning Garden project. The fellowship covers 40 hours per term of a paid internship, which can be shared between two students – as is the case for this year’s inaugural round.

The Learning Garden project aims to turn the space around SOU’s Science Building into a biodiverse and culturally rich learning space, dedicated to celebrating the historical and modern presence of the lands’ original Indigenous occupants and caretakers.

Dumore and Zimmerman are using the fellowship to uncover the historical and archeological stories that lie within the space. The fellows will consolidate the stories and publicly present them prior the eventual construction of the garden.

“I am excited for this fellowship because I get the opportunity to broaden my academic horizons by working with anthropology, and because I get to be a part of a very special project with some great people,” Charlie Zimmerman says.

Charlie is a junior studying history and political science, with a minor in Native American Studies and research interests that include the history of Oregon and westward expansion. Charlie is pursuing a career in public history, copy editing, technical writing or historical society work.

Kayla Dumore is an enrolled Klamath Tribal member, with ties to the Klamath and Modoc peoples. She is working toward a major in Sociology and Anthropology, with a certificate in Native American Studies, and plans to graduate June of 2024. Kayla plans to have a career in research, with a focus on Tribal sovereignty, cross-cultural interactions and the Indigenous history of Oregon. Kayla always keeps her community close at heart in all of the work she does, and is passionate about honoring those of seven generations into the future.

“I am deeply honored to be working on this Indigenous-led project,” Kayla says. “I am passionate about advocating for the inherent sovereignty of Native American peoples and the Indigenization of spaces within higher education. This project does both in a collaborative and meaningful way. I am beyond excited to be working with fellow students, alumni and tribal partners.”

The Native American Studies Program at SOU is an interdisciplinary field that blends social science with humanities. Though Indigenous peoples have always been engaged in theoretical and conceptual activities, the physical presence of NAS as a distinct discipline in academia is an outgrowth of American Indian activism of the 1960s and 1970s.

NAS is a problem-solving, Native American-centered and applied field, which seeks to examine experiences that unify Indigenous peoples in ways that work in service to Native American communities’ contemporary challenges and aspirations. All students are welcome.

The SOU Laboratory of Anthropology connects culture, history and place in a meaningful way. The program conducts grant- and contract-funded research that includes archaeological surveying, excavation and analysis; GIS mapping; and oral history and ethnohistoric research. It serves the interests of the university and community, selecting projects in partnership with private, local, state, federal and Tribal organizations in ways that meet collaborators’ needs and provide data for expanded research and public education.

Students from a wide range of disciplines benefit from SOULA’s hands-on experiences in fieldwork, laboratory analysis, conference presentation, writing and career networking.


SOU Native American Studies receives grant from Banyan Botanicals

(Ashland, Ore.) — Dragonfly’s Garden, located in Southern Oregon University’s community garden and a project of the Native American Studies Program, has been awarded a grant for $3,000 from Banyan Botanicals – a product and lifestyle company that focuses on the Ayurvedic alternative medicine system that is common in India and Nepal. Banyan Botanicals’ mission is to help people achieve health and well-being.

Banyan Botanicals grant will support hiring T Tschantre The NAS program will use the grant from Banyan to hire SOU alumna T Tschantre, who is of Tewa descent, to support participation in growth of Dragonfly’s Garden and to tend the plot with student intern Alanis Baldy, a citizen of the Hoopa Valley Tribe.

“Students in the Native American Studies Program at Southern Oregon University are deeply committed to sustainable food systems, cultivation of Indigenous first foods and food sovereignty,” said Brook Colley, Ph.D., chair of the NAS program.

“Many have limited opportunities to grow their food and to practice the cultivation of culturally important medicinal plants,” she said, “However, this garden gives students a safe place to learn these skills and be supported in their exploration and learning.”

NAS students attempted to start a student garden project for many years, but were plagued by challenges including a lack of resources to pay student workers, the COVID-19 pandemic and catastrophic Rogue Valley wildfires.

SOU junior Amanda Rose enrolled in Colley’s spring 2021 Native American Ecological Knowledge course, in which she learned about “three sisters” gardening – a system of companion planting in which three plants are grown symbiotically. She and seven other students initiated a group project using the dynamic polyculture system at The Farm at SOU, and ultimately harvested more than 200 ears of sweet corn and 200 squash, of four varieties. The produce was shared with the NAS program, Native students and local Native community members.

Banyan Botanicals grant will support student worker Alanis BaldyBaldy and other NAS students were inspired by the success of Rose’s three sisters garden, and mobilized to use the technique on a garden plot – which would become known as Dragonfly’s Garden – in the SOU Community Garden. The community garden is a student-run organic cooperative at the corner of South Mountain Avenue and Henry Street.

“Dragonfly’s Garden helps keep me connected to my culture and allows me to accomplish my goal of giving back to Indigenous communities,” said Baldy, who grew up on her tribe’s reservation in northern California  – a culturally enriched environment that taught her of responsibilities to the land.

Tschantre considers the grant-supported role at the garden to be a means of using knowledge to be of service to the community. Tschantre, reconnecting with Native roots, said that learning about Native first foods, plants and land restoration is an important part of a personal journey.

“I’m interested in learning how to use methods of companion planting to create healthy habitats using herbs, flowers and vegetables in other annual and perennial gardens,” Tschantre said.

Dragonfly’s Garden is now dedicated to growing student knowledge of Indigenous first foods and companion planting. Students have learned that the system improves pollination, controls pests, provides a habitat for beneficial insects and improves harvests.

“We are very thankful to Banyan Botanicals and our other partners who support these cultural and educational efforts.” said Colley, the NAS chair.

Additional support for Dragonfly’s Garden and the three sisters garden has come from Siskiyou Seeds, which donated seeds for both gardens, and the Traditional Ecological Inquiry Program, which provided camas bulbs, wild onion bulbs and bitterroot for the project. Donations to support Dragonfly’s Garden and other projects of the SOU Native American Studies program can be made online.


Grant will fund the Indigenous Gardens Network

Indigenous Gardens Network again receives Oregon Cultural Trust grant

(Ashland, Ore.) —  Southern Oregon University, tribal partners and others have received a $30,154 grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust to continue the work of the Indigenous Gardens Network – a hub for Indigenous-led land projects centering on food sovereignty, land stewardship, educational opportunities and habitat restoration.

The purpose of the Indigenous Gardens Network is to provide accessibility to land and “first foods” for tribal communities. First foods are plant and animal species that Native Americans traditionally relied upon for subsistence, medicine and ceremonial uses. The network consists of a tribal steering committee and working groups with citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Their Indigenous knowledge and expertise of cultivation, harvesting and stewardship inform and direct each project that the network takes on.

Projects from the past year included listening sessions on barriers to land accessibility for tribal people, planning meetings, site visits, the creation of working groups, an online Acorn Camp, a First Food Stewardship planning project at Vesper Meadow, development of a Shasta/Takelma Learning Garden at SOU and the purchase of acorn processing equipment and camas restoration tools.

“The Oregon Cultural Trust grant will enable the continuation of projects and initiatives that uplift Indigenous food sovereignty and kinship practices, and that center ceremony, Indigenous storytelling and creativity,” said Joe Scott (Siletz), IGN member and curriculum director for the Traditional Ecological Inquiry Program. “These projects also confront threats to the larger community by supporting traditional tending practices that reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, mitigate the impacts of climate change and help provide clean water.”

“Ever since our people were marched from the Rogue Valley at the end of the Rogue River Wars to the Siletz Reservation in 1856 and 1857, our people have suffered from loss of close connection to those homelands, the comfort, foods and sense of belonging that they provided our people for millennia,“ said Robert Kentta (Shasta & Dakubetede ancestry), cultural resources director and Tribal Council member for the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.

“We very much appreciate the IGN Partnership with SOU and the Grand Ronde Tribe, and the incredible support from land managing agencies, and NGOs, and the funders like Oregon Cultural Trust, who make this re-connection and cultural restoration possible,” Kentta said.

“We are grateful for the continued support of the Oregon Cultural Trust for the collaborative work between the Siletz and Grand Ronde tribes and our many partners, including SOU, Vesper Meadows, BLM and so many others,” said Greg Archuleta (Clackamas Chinook, Santiam Kalapuya, Shasta ancestry), artist and educator, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. “The funding support will enable our Tribal members to connect to and help restore our ancestral lands for access to traditional first foods and important cultural sites.”

The Indigenous Gardens Network is also supported through the SOU Foundation. Those wishing to contribute to this work can make a donation through the SOU Foundation or contact Brook Colley (colleyb@sou.edu) for more information about the Indigenous Gardens Network. Information on donating to the Oregon Cultural Trust is available on the organization’s website.


Chance White Eyes

New Native American Studies faculty member to begin at SOU this fall

Chance White Eyes, who has worked most recently as a post-secondary consultant on educational and diversity issues, has accepted an offer to join the SOU faculty as a tenure-track assistant professor of Native American Studies.

White Eyes, an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, will begin teaching at SOU this fall.

He served at the University of Oregon for almost five years as a graduate teaching fellow and then another year as assistant to the university’s tribal liaison before shifting to consulting work last fall. He previously served for a year at the UO as an academic advisor and Native American retention specialist.

White Eyes has most recently consulted with Oregon State University on Native American access and success, and has operated RED Day Consulting with a focus on global diversity, indigenous and human rights, and equity and inclusion in post-secondary settings.

He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from OSU and his doctorate in critical and socio-cultural studies in education at the UO.

His research interests include indigenous research methodologies, indigenous post-secondary educational success, the history of education in the United States, oral traditions, storytelling and narrative analysis. He has offered presentations on indigenous issues and initiatives at several national and international conferences.

White Eyes is currently working on an article that examines Native American storytelling and how those stories can support Native American students in non-Native colleges and universities. He is working on another article that explores acts of student resistance and how those acts enrich or detract from educational experiences.

SOU to host 40th annual Oregon Indian Education Association conference

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/8Ot59R)
(Ashland, Ore.) — The Oregon Indian Education Association’s 40th annual conference, to be held April 20 and 21 at Southern Oregon University, will feature a special presentation by tribal attorney Tara Houska, the national campaigns director for Honor the Earth and Native American affairs advisor last year to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
The conference, “Radical Hope and Indigenous Futures: Native Knowledge Transforming Oregon Indian Education,” is sponsored by SOU’s Native American Studies and affiliate programs. Registration for the full, two-day conference is $120 for the general public and $75 for students and elders, but SOU students will be admitted free to most of the event’s various presentations. Admission rates for portions of the conference are available on the OIEA website.
Those who attend the conference may choose among 18 presentations during four sessions on Thursday and seven presentations during two sessions on Friday. A film festival will be held Thursday evening. The conference will seek to incorporate indigenous knowledge into public education and promote quality educational services to Native American students and their families.
Houska, who is a citizen of the Couchiching First Nation, practices as a tribal attorney in Washington, D.C. Her talk will be during a special luncheon session on Thursday.
The OIEA emphasizes that teaching Native American histories and contemporary issues at every level of public education benefits all students by encouraging them to engage with their regions, cultivate civic engagement and learn to be responsible global citizens.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.