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February 26, 2007

Cultural Conservancy leader to address March 2 Earth Summit

Melissa K. Nelson, president of the Cultural Conservancy, an indigenous rights nonprofit organization, will be the keynote speaker for UCSC’s sixth annual Earth Summit on Friday, March 2.

Photo of Melissa Nelson
Melissa K. Nelson

“Returning to Our Foodsheds: Practicing Sustainability Through Local Place and Taste,” is the topic of Nelson’s speech. Nelson, a Turtle Mountain Chippewa and a UCSC alumna, is an assistant professor of American Indian studies at San Francisco State University.

The summit, which focuses on moving the campus toward sustainability, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Stevenson Event Center.

Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal, Assemblymember John Laird, Santa Cruz City Councilmember Cynthia Mathews, and University of California sustainability specialist Matthew St. Clair are among those making presentations at the gathering. (For more details, see Campus Message)

Two American Indian Resource Center events will lead up to the Earth Summit.

Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action, will be shown from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on February 27 in College Nine's Namaste Lounge. The film follows the efforts of activists who are dedicated to protecting Indian lands and ensuring the cultural survival of their peoples. The event is free.

On March 1, Nelson will join two other UCSC Native American alumnae for a panel discussion on "Intersections: The Environment & Indigenous People." The discussion will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Cervantes & Velasquez Conference Rooms of the Bay Tree Building. In addition to Nelson, the panelists are:

Claradina Soto, of Navajo/Pueblo background, was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. She is a first-year doctoral student in the Health Behavior Research program at the University of Southern California. Soto works with American Indian populations in health promotion, access, and education.

Julie Randall is an Oglala Sioux and an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe in South Dakota. Randall's research at UCSC focused on uranium mining in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the environmental, social, and health impacts to Lakota communities living on and off the reservation.


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