Melinda is a doctoral student in Native American Studies and also conducts research in Environmental Policy and Management at The University of California, Davis. Her dissertation will focus on the social, ecological, and cultural importance of revitalizing cultural burns (prescribed fires conducted using Traditional Ecological Knowledge). Melinda’s community partners include the Patwin (Wintun) fire practitioners of the Tending and Gathering Garden—two acres of land dedicated to Tribal plant gatherers and basket weavers. Her research aims to address the parallels of historical trauma to environmental distress by reconnecting her people to their traditional land stewardship practices. This reconnection will provide space for intergenerational knowledge transfer and will activate a sense of environmental, cultural, and spiritual healing amongst Indigenous peoples. Melinda looks forward to amplifying this work through the HPRS program, where she will obtain policymaking skills to address Native American environmental issues on a tribal/state/federal scale.
MORE ABOUT MELINDA
Melinda is an Apache (N’dee) Native American woman, environmental scientist, tribal college professor, and first-generation scholar. As a member of the academy, she is passionate about creating culturally-based learning opportunities with, by, and for Native peoples. Her unique background in STEM and the humanities position her to create multiple cross-disciplinary partnerships and research collaborations.