Indigenous Environmental Fluidities

This new research initiative will contribute to the emerging field of Critical Indigenous Environmental Studies. We are currently seeking funding for an Indigenous knowledge exchange between Indigenous university scholars and Indigenous community/nation representatives in the Great Lakes and Oceanic regions who are confronting complex challenges associated with climate change. We are focused on understanding how certain Indigenous knowledges and practices associated with water contribute to climate change resilience. The specific forms of Indigenous knowledge and practice that we are examining in this initiative are fluidity and relationality.

Nick Reo
Kyle Powys Whyte
Vicente Diaz
Christine DeLisle


Local Motions surf film

This documentary film project focuses on Indigenous surfers and their unique connections to the ocean and responsibilities to care for their coastal communities. More details including a project website and mechanism for helping fund this project are forthcoming.

Project Team:
Nick Reo
Daniel LaFranier
Mark Wilson
Joe Fairbanks

Indigenous Confluence

This partnership began in 2014 with Indigenous representatives from the U.S., Canada and New Zealand to look at Indigenous leadership in large-scale river restoration and identify models for sustainable riparian restoration and “guardianship”. Since that time, we have expanded the size of the group and the questions/issues we are focused on. In 2017-18 we began working with Kanaka Maoli / Olelo Hawaii education specialists and re-focused on sharing Indigenous language education models across partner groups. In our next phase, we hope to look closely at the ways that Indigenous cultural protocols and Indigenous languages factor in to the work Indigenous nations and peoples do with their neighbors (including partnerships with universities and settler governments).

Partner Links:
Walpole Island First Nation
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Waikato-Tainui Tribe
Hālau Kū Māna Charter School

Anishnaabek and the St. Mary’s River- Indigenous stewardship of coastal wetlands and introduced species

This initiative has two interrelated foci:
1) Experimental stewardship of hybrid cattail (Typha x glauca) in coastal wetlands on the St. Mary’s River, the outflow of Lake Superior.
2) Understanding Anishnaabek perceptions of introduced species

Partner Links:
“Team Typha” lead by Loyola University of Chicago
Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Ecological impacts of backcountry skiing / snowboarding

The US Forest Service and Rochester Sport Trails Alliance have a trial backcountry ski/snowboard trail project in Brandon Gap, Vermont, in the Green Mountain National Forest. Professor Reo helped come up with low-impact trail design principles. He and students at Dartmouth College have been monitoring for unintended ecological consequences of the trails and the increased backcountry skier/rider traffic they have created in the forest.

20160901-Reo-RASTA-Research-EB-071 (1)

Partner Links:
US Forest Service, Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests
Rochester Area Sport Trails Alliance

New York Times coverage
Outside Magazine article