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Jodi Rave: Native conservation a focus of conference

Wilderness Institute, University of Montana
Indigenous Peoples Restoration Network
"Many people believe early Europeans found a rich and ecologically diverse North American continent, a land of milk and honey, a Garden of Eden inhabited by indigenous people who walked lightly on the land.

Indigenous people receive little to no credit for successfully managing the ecosystems in which they lived. �It's a dehumanizing and insidious concept,� said Dennis Martinez, chairman of the Indigenous Peoples' Restoration Network. It wasn't an accident that upward of 10 million people lived among such abundance. �They had to work at it,� he said.

The IPRN, an arm of the Society for Ecological Restoration, aims to support Native communities trying to restore their environments, which also includes keeping alive cultures that remain dependent on the environment.

Martinez, who lives in Douglas City, Calif., has been helping others answer this seminal question: How can traditional knowledge come together with ecological restoration?

He shared his message Tuesday with Salish Kootenai College students. �The trick is to balance core traditional values with economic tribal development,� Martinez told the students, many of them working toward degrees in forest management. The school is the first and only tribal college to offer a four-year degree in forestry.

SKC officials reacted quickly when learning Martinez was scheduled to speak Tuesday evening as part of the University of Montana's Wilderness Institute Lecture Series. �It's sort of like hearing a rock star is coming,� said Pat Hurley, department chair of SKC's Natural Science and Math Program. �He's not just talking about traditional ecological knowledge. He's actually doing it.�"

Get the Story:
Speaker: Native land management worked (The Missoulian 2/1)
UM lecture series focuses on Native conservation issues (The Missoulian 2/1)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave Lee -

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