- February 10, 2022
- 7:00 pm
- Online (PST)
Despite the undeniable fact that Indigenous communities are among the most affected by climate devastation, Indigenous science is very rarely found in mainstream environmental policy or discourse. While holistic land, water, and forest management practices born from a millennia of Indigenous knowledge systems have much to teach all of us, Indigenous science has long been ignored, otherized, or perceived as “soft”—the product of a systematic, centuries-long campaign of racism, colonialism, extractive capitalism, and delegitimization.
Jessica Hernandez (Maya Ch’orti’ and Zapotec), environmental scientist and founder of environmental agency Piña Soul, introduces and contextualizes Indigenous environmental knowledge and proposes a vision of land stewardship that heals rather than displaces and generates rather than destroys. She breaks down the failures of Western-defined conservation and shares alternatives—citing the restoration work of urban Indigenous people in Seattle, her family’s fight against ecoterrorism in Latin America, and holistic land management approaches of Indigenous groups across the continent.
In Dr. Hernandez’s latest book, Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science, she breaks down why Western conservation isn’t working and offers Indigenous models informed by case studies, personal stories, and family histories that center the voices of Latin American women and land protectors.
Join Indigenous scholar and activist Melissa Nelson in a conversation with Dr. Hernandez about her life and work and explore how to stop the eco-colonialism ravaging Indigenous lands to restore our relationship with Earth to one of harmony and respect.
Jessica Hernandez is a transnational Indigenous scholar, scientist, and community advocate based in the Pacific Northwest. She has an interdisciplinary academic background ranging from marine sciences to forestry. Her work is grounded in her Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing. She advocates for climate, energy, and environmental justice through her scientific and community work and strongly believes that Indigenous sciences can heal our Indigenous lands. She currently holds appointments at Sustainable Seattle (Board Member), City of Seattle's Urban Forestry Commission, and the International Mayan League (Climate Justice Policy Strategist). She is also the author of Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science. Learn more about Dr. Hernandez and her work at jessicabhernandez.com.
Melissa K. Nelson, PhD, (Anishinaabe/Métis [Turtle Mountain Chippewa]), is an ecologist, writer, editor, media-maker and Indigenous scholar-activist. Her work is dedicated to Indigenous rights and sustainability, biocultural heritage and environmental justice, intercultural solidarity, and the renewal and celebration of community health and cultural arts. She actively advocates for Indigenous Peoples rights and sustainable lifeways in higher education, nonprofits, and philanthropy, and is particularly passionate about Indigenous food sovereignty at local, regional and global levels. Melissa served as a professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University from 2002 to 2020. She is now Professor of Indigenous sustainability at Arizona State University and continues to work with the Cultural Conservancy, which she has led since 1993. Melissa is the editor of and a contributor to Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future (2008), and co-editor of and contributor to Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning From the Indigenous Practices for Environmental Sustainability (2018).
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