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Summer Course in Natural Resources Co-Management

Envir 495D 

Indigenous People and the Collaborative Stewardship of Non-human Nature

Joyce LeCompte, Lecturer; Program on the Environment


Instructor website:


Tuesday, 1:10-4:30pm; PAA A212

One required all day field trip (Date TBD by consensus first day of class)

Office hours and location: Wallace 15H; by appt.


Three credits: Class and required field trip

Five credits: Includes practicum


Course Description

This course surveys the conceptual and practical issues encountered when Indigenous peoples participate in the collaborative stewardship of natural resources. Involving Indigenous people and communities in natural resources stewardship has the potential to produce more equitable and sustainable outcomes, yet even well-intentioned initiatives often fail to produce truly equal partnerships. Focusing primarily on issues and cases involving federally recognized Tribes in the Pacific Northwest, students will develop a solid understanding of the cultural, social, political and legal frameworks that are required to engage in meaningful partnerships with Indigenous communities. We will explore environmental issues, from pre-European contact times through the present, attending to Indigenous and treaty-based perspectives. We will survey the dynamic role of Indigenous peoples in environmental and resource stewardship through the lenses of tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, and Indigenous law.


Course Objectives

Through this course, students will grow their understanding in the following areas:


  • Gain an understanding of, and appreciation for, the diversity of Indigenous peoples, perspectives, and approaches to the environment;


  • Explore the treaty relationship and other institutions that govern natural resources and the environment in the United States;


  • Recognize key challenges and opportunities to collaborative natural resource stewardship experienced by Indigenous peoples at the intersection of history, culture, politics, law, science, and economic development;


  • Appreciate the knowledges, practices, and beliefs of Indigenous peoples, and their role in natural resource stewardship and environmental governance in the US.


This course will prepare students for future work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and governmental and non-governmental organizations with the ultimate goal of improving the relations between Indigenous communities and various groups and institutions.


Required Texts

  • Ross, Anne, et al. 2011. Indigenous Peoples and the Collaborative Stewardship of Nature: Knowledge Binds and Institutional Conflicts. Walnut Creek, CA : Left Coast Press.
  • Other required readings will be made available on Catalyst