e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Native Scientist Discusses Indigenous Knowledge, Modern Techniques


SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The melding of indigenous people's traditional ecological knowledge with modern resource management techniques will be the subject of a presentation this month at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

Dennis Martinez, a scientist who has dedicated his career to building bridges between traditional indigenous and Western cultures, will speak 4 to 5 p.m. April 12 in Room 5, Illick Hall, on the ESF campus. His subject is "Back to the Future: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Modern Resource Management."

Martinez, who is of O'odham/Chicano heritage, is the founder of the Indigenous Peoples Restoration Network. He assists traditional communities with the restoration of tribal and ancestral lands. He is a restoration ecologist who researches the concept and practice of bio-cultural restoration, and the use of indigenous ecological knowledge in sustainable land management.

Martinez is the first speaker in the Native American Visiting Scholars series. He will be on the ESF campus for several days and is available to speak with classes or interested students and faculty members.

The lecture series is part of a broader program that links ESF's scientists with Native American communities in New York. Two federal grants have directed more than $300,000 into the effort. ESF, at times in concert with Cornell University, is helping to run educational programs and to act as a conduit that puts some of the funds into the hands of native people. At the same time, scientists from both universities are ready to act as technical advisers to the native communities.

As part of the program, Dr. Robin Kimmerer, an associate professor in ESF's Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, taught a class called Land and Culture: Native Perspectives on the Environment. She also helped organize a summer class for Native American resource professionals that was taught at the college's Cranberry Lake Biological Station.