WaterTalk: Training STEM graduate students to work in Indigenous communities to co-solve food, energy and water security challengesExport this event to calendar

Thursday, February 11, 2021 — 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EST

WaterTalksAs part of the Water Institute's WaterTalks lecture seriesKarletta Chief, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona, presents, “Training STEM graduate students to work in Indigenous communities to co-solve food, energy and water security challenges."

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More information

Worldwide, approximately 370 million Indigenous people live in over 90 countries. Although, Indigenous people are only approximately 5% of the world population, they represent 90% of the cultural diversity and hold 20% of the land that maintains 80% of the world's remaining biodiversity. However, Indigenous people often lack access to energy, water, and food infrastructure. For example, 14% of U.S. Native American households lack access to electricity. Developing technical solutions to FEWS challenges requires an understanding of Indigenous societies, knowledges, governance, and culture and the ability to work effectively in these contexts. This talk will focus on a NSF funded graduate research training program entitled Indigenous Food, Energy, and Water Security and Sovereignty or Indigi-FEWSS. The vision of Indigi-FEWSS is to develop a diverse workforce with intercultural awareness and expertise in sustainable food, energy, and water systems (FEWS), specifically through the design of fit-for-purpose water and controlled environment agricultural (CEA) technologies to address the lack of safe water, energy, and food security in Indigenous communities. The overarching goal is to provide a unique, on-site research, and training opportunity for masters and PhD students that bridges engineering, social, and physical sciences. We combine classwork, internships, teaching, and community interactions to enable trainees to tackle critical real world FEWS problems, with an understanding of the cultures and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples.
 

Speaker bio

Dr. Karletta ChiefDr. Karletta Chief is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She works to bring relevant science to Native American communities in a culturally sensitive manner by providing hydrology expertise, transferring knowledge, assessing information needs, and developing applied science projects. She is Diné (Navajo) from Black Mesa, AZ and was raised without electricity or running water. She is a first-generation college graduate.  

The goal of Dr. Chief’s research is to improve our understanding, tools, and predictions of watershed hydrology, unsaturated flow in arid environments, and how natural and human disturbances affect soil hydrology through the use of physically based methods. It also focuses on how Indigenous communities will be affected by climate change and collaborated in an interdisciplinary group of scientists including hydrologists, system dynamic modelers, and social scientists to determine how hydrological models can be improved to identify and mitigate risks to these vulnerable populations. 

Dr. Chief is a member of the Rising Voices, and Climate and Traditional Knowledges Workgroup with a focus on climate impacts to tribal waters. Two of her primary tribal projects are The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Climate Adaptation and Traditional Knowledge and The Navajo Nation Gold King Mine Spill Impacts.

She supervises and advises the research of 11 students, 10 of which are Native American working on topics related to tribal environmental issues.


The University of Waterloo is committed to achieving barrier-free accessibility for persons with disabilities who are visiting, studying or working at Waterloo. If you have questions concerning access or wish to request accommodations for this event, please contact Allie Dusome (adusome@uwaterloo.ca) 

Cost 
Free, please register
Location 


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Canada

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