What does the term “stewardship” call to mind for you? In forestry and conservation, stewardship is often viewed in the context of colonial structures of ownership and control over the landscape. In this discussion, we will consider what it means to instead center Indigenous knowledge as stewardship and cultural preservation. We will talk about stewardship at different levels of place and landscape, focusing on examples from the Nipmuc and other tribal homelands in southern New England, especially in relation to Yale-Myers Forest. How should institutions and the public incorporate Indigenous knowledge and engagement into their practices? What does it mean for the Yale Forests to steward land in this landscape? We will explore these questions and themes with Dr. Rae Gould, a member of the Nipmuc Tribe of Massachusetts who grew up in and has deep family ties to northeast Connecticut. Dr. Gould, an anthropologist (also trained in archaeology), is Associate Director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at Brown University, in addition to serving as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) representative and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for her tribe.
Participants will be expected to complete a few readings in advance of the event (distributed upon registration) and come prepared for thoughtful, considerate discussion. We welcome and encourage participation from the Yale School of the Environment and The Forest School community, the Quiet Corner, the Native community at Yale and beyond, and those who have stewarded Yale Forests - from past Forest Crew members and Forest Managers to researchers and faculty - as we work toward a more complete understanding of and respect for this landscape.
This discussion is organized by the Yale Forests Reading Group, with support from the Yale Forest Forum and in partnership with the Yale Native American Cultural Center and the Association of Native Americans at Yale.