Current Projects

Native Lands Stewardship Webinar Series

This webinar series is intended for natural resource professionals, particularly those working on Tribal lands, and others interested in learning innovative approaches to ecological stewardship.

The series is made possible by the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, as part of the Mapping Ecological Stewardship Opportunities (MESO) project, which aims to support sustainable and innovative stewardship approaches on Tribal lands in the Northern Great Plains region.

Webinar #1

Notes from the Field: How Data and Wildlife Management Can Protect Tribal Values
Thursday, July 9, 2020, 12 pm, Mountain

Register here!

During this one-hour webinar, Shaun Grassel, Ph.D., will share innovative research and data collection methods being used to protect wildlife and associated tribal values on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation. Case studies will highlight the cultural significance of wildlife population trends, species interactions, predator-prey relationships, and disease, and how culturally-informed policy and management strategies can uphold tribal values.

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, located on the western edge of the Missouri River in Central South Dakota, established its Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Recreation over 30 years ago. The Department is responsible for the sustainable management and protection of wildlife across diverse aquatic, forested, and grassland habitats. In the last decade, thousands of acres of marginal cropland has been restored to grasslands. Rare and endangered species such as black-footed ferret and swift fox have been reintroduced along with buffalo, wild turkey, and elk, which restores part of a great ecosystem known by their ancestors.

About Dr. Shaun Grassel
Shaun Grassel is an enrolled member of and a wildlife biologist for the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. He has worked for his Tribe for over 20 years on the conservation and management of wildlife species. Shaun’s work includes monitoring population trends of game species and focal non-game species, conducting research, and assisting in the development of policy. Shaun has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota State University and a Doctoral degree in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho.

Webinar #2

GIS Mapping for Indigenous Communities – Part 1
Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 12 pm, Mountain

Register here!

During this one-hour webinar, Steve DeRoy, MSc, will introduce basic concepts and tools of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Mapping using examples from Indigenous communities across Canada. Best practices on setting up and managing a successful GIS department will also be discussed. Lastly, resources on full-length online programs and other opportunities will be shared for those interested in learning about GIS mapping specifically tailored to Tribal communities.

About Steve DeRoy
Steve is Anishinabe/Saulteaux and a member of the Ebb and Flow First Nation from Manitoba. He is a director and past president of the Firelight Group. Steve founded the annual Indigenous Mapping Workshop. Since 1998, Steve has worked as a researcher and professional cartographer /geographic information systems (GIS) specialist, primarily with Indigenous groups in North America. Steve provides project management, senior advisory and technical support for traditional knowledge and use studies; social, economic and health studies; land use planning; treaty land entitlement; and natural resource management. The other aspect of his work is to promote the transfer of knowledge by facilitating hands-on technical training and mentorship with First Nation practitioners. He has facilitated workshops in communities and presented at numerous conferences in Canada and internationally. Steve is a board member of the West Coast Environmental Law Association, a board member of the Canadian Remote Sensing Society, an advisor to the Metcalf Foundation, a moderator of the Open Forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies, a moderator of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Agriculture (UAV4AG), a co-moderator of the Aboriginal Mapping Network, and a trainer of the Google Earth Outreach Trainers Network.

The Firelight Group is a community-based research organization whose mission is to work with communities in Canada and beyond to provide high-quality research, analysis and technical tools, to create solutions for our shared futures. Their work is focused primarily on supporting the rights and interests of Indigenous communities, and is founded in culturally respectful protocols. The Firelight Group co-hosts an annual Indigenous Mapping Workshop in partnership with Google, Esri, Mapbox and NASA.

Webinar #3

Decolonizing Regenerative Agriculture
Thursday, September 3, 2020, 12 pm, Mountain — Register here!

Regenerative agriculture has increased in popularity over the past decade; however, the methods are not new – they are rooted in sustainable practices cultivated by Indigenous people over thousands of years. Yet, there are differences that impact how Indigenous communities are involved and lead this work. While regenerative agriculture is being promoted as a means of restoring soil health and biodiversity, it is often focused on tweaking existing farming practices rather than driving transformational changes that are needed for a truly regenerative system. While Indigenous practices similarly achieve such goals, their focus is on maintaining long-standing relationships between land, water, people, plants, and animals, rather than specific outputs. Indigenous communities are confronting the legacy of Western programming and funding models that have subsidized unsustainable agricultural practices, disrupted traditional trade networks, and constrained sacred relationships.

To understand how the movement of regenerative agriculture can be decolonized and redirected to help restore Indigenous food systems, join First Nations Development Institute’s A-Dae Romero-Briones and Regenerative Agriculture Foundation’s Executive Director Mark Muller, for a 45-minute presentation, followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers. Speakers will review trends in food and agriculture that have laid the foundation of regenerative agriculture, deconstruct regenerative agriculture to understand how it differs from Indigenous traditional systems, and discuss opportunities for more inclusive approaches to regenerative agriculture that support Indigenous communities.

A-dae Romero-Briones, Director of Programs – Native Agriculture and Food Systems, First Nations Development Institute (Cochiti/Kiowa)

About A-dae Romero-Briones
A-dae became Director of Programs, Native Agriculture and Food Systems, in 2017 after first joining First Nations as Associate Director of Research and Policy for Native Agriculture. She formerly was the Director of Community Development for Pūlama Lāna‘i in Hawaii, and is also the co-founder and former Executive Director of a nonprofit organization in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. A-dae worked for the University of Arkansas School of Law Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative while earning her LL.M. degree in Food and Agricultural Law. Her thesis was on the Food Safety Modernization Act as it applied to the federal-tribal relationship. She wrote extensively about food safety, the Produce Safety rule and tribes, and the protection of tribal traditional foods. A U.S. Fulbright Scholar, A-dae received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy from Princeton University, and received a Law Doctorate from Arizona State University’s College of Law, in addition to her LL.M. degree in Food and Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas.

Mark Muller, Executive Director, Regenerative Agriculture Foundation

About Mark Muller
Mark recently joined the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation as their new Executive Director. Prior to this, Mark worked at the McKnight Foundation where he served for over six years as program director of the Mississippi River program. He has spent most of his career working to help transform our agricultural and food systems, starting with part-time jobs while in college supporting farmworkers, providing Integrated Pest Management services to farmers, and spending a season on a diversified organic vegetable farm. Mark has a BA in physics and a MA in environmental engineering. He and his spouse have three children and have lived in the Midtown Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis for the past 20 years. They are part owners of a family farm in Iowa.


Webinar #4

GIS Mapping for Indigenous Communities – Part 2
Presenter: Steve DeRoy, MSc
Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 12 pm, Mountain

Register here!