Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples Conference

This fall, the University of Oregon is hosting the 3rd Annual Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples Conference, scheduled for December 2-3, 2014 in Eugene, Oregon. The University will welcome two distinguished keynote speakers to the conference: Dr. Myrna Cunningham Kain and Patricia Cochran. Dr. Cunningham Kain is Miskitu from Nicaragua, and is an internationally renowned advocate for Indigenous peoples’ rights and women’s rights who has served Indigenous peoples in countless fashions, most recently as chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2011-2013). Patricia Cochran is currently Executive Director of the Alaska Native Science Commission (ANSC), an organization that works to create links and collaborations among scientists, researchers and Alaska Native communities.  The 2nd day of the conference will feature a series of student panels exploring climate change and indigenous peoples. We have funding to bring three students from U.S. tribal colleges (or indigenous undergraduate students at other universities in the U.S.) who are researching issues related to climate change and indigenous peoples. The students invited to join us at this event will present during one of the panel sessions and participate in the conference. Please submit nominations for undergraduate students, or students can apply themselves, if conducting research on climate change and indigenous peoples. Nominations or applications should include a brief bio of the student, as well as an abstract of their research on climate change and indigenous peoples that they would plan to present during the conference. Nominations should be sent to Mark Carey at carey ‘at’ by September 1st. If a student is accepted to attend the conference, the UO will provide funding for travel and lodging.  More information about the conference is included below, and you can also visit:

Indigenous peoples are disproportionately affected by climate change and natural disasters, yet they are often marginalized from policy and academic discussions. Moreover, discussion of indigenous people and climate change opens up much broader discussion about environmental epistemologies across diverse cultures, as well as environmental management, race and class dynamics, and the intersection of local, national, and global issues. To expose University of Oregon students to these issues, in Fall 2014, Mark Carey and Kathy Lynn will be simultaneously teaching two courses on Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples for the UO Clark Honors College and the UO Environmental Studies Program, respectively. The keynote lecture will be the lead event for a student-focused conference on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change that provides students taking these courses to participate in presenting their research. Students will be able to present their research, gain professional experience, and be connected to a variety of other students, faculty, and professionals. Students in the courses will present their research, and a broader community will be invited to participate, including other undergraduates, graduate students, and American Indian and Alaska Native students from tribal colleges and others from native communities.

There are several goals for the conference:
— Facilitate interaction among native and non-native communities on climate change, environmental, and cultural issues
— Increase knowledge of non-native students about climate change and indigenous peoples
— Foster discourse between indigenous leaders and students
— Put climate change and indigenous peoples issues into comparative international context (by focusing on issues throughout the Americas)
— Provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to present research and gain professional experience
— Expose the UO community to issues related to indigenous peoples and climate change