Sovereignty Through Sustainability Event

Sustainability Week 2022

May 9, 2022

As part of its annual Sustainability Week celebration, Eastern Washington University hosted a daylong conference devoted to exploring some of the most pressing environmental issues facing our way of life.

“Sovereignty Through Sustainability” addressed critical topics such as drought and climate change, water law, salmon runs, Tribal history and culture, food sovereignty and natural resources restoration.

The conference included a cross-section of experts such as tribal leaders, scientists, planners, historians, economists, attorneys from state agencies, decision-makers and our own amazing EWU Faculty.

“Our efforts will work to protect Mother Earth and our students will be better prepared to protect our environment,” says Margo Hill, EWU associate professor of Urban and Regional Planning and one of the organizers of the event. “We have done our job.”

Speakers included:

  • President David May, Opening Remarks
  • Elder- Carol Evans, Chair, Spokane Tribe of Indians – Prayer, Land Acknowledgement
  • Empero Corral, Spokane-Shoshone Bannock, Song

Historical Salmon Runs, Water Quality and Salmon Restoration

  • Warren Seyler, Former Tribal Chair Spokane Tribe of Indians, Tribal Historian
  • Dr. Al Scholz, EWU Biology, Historical fisheries before Grand Coulee Dam blocked runs
  • Dr. Brent Nichols, Spokane Tribe Fisheries and Water Resource Division Director
  • DR Michel, Columbia River Treaty, or Dr. Michael Marchand, Colville Tribe

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Impacts of Climate Change

  • Jerry White Jr., RiverKeepers, Spokane River, drought response plan
  • Don Sampson, Umatilla Executive Director, ATNI Climate Change – Checking calendar ATNI Climate change
  • Dr. Lauren Stachowiak, Forestry, Wildfire ecology and climate change
  • Dr. Stephen Tsikalas, Climate Science, the general science of climate change

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The Collaborative Road Map to Washington’s Future

  • Joe Tovar – WA Bills,1717 GMA (Passed), Salmon (failed), Climate change (Gov. desk)

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Tribal, State and Local Water Rights and Responsibilities

  • Mary Verner, Former Spokane Mayor, lead for Washington State Department of Ecology Water Resources Program, (she is heading up an effort to bring state, local and tribal governments together to reexamine state water laws).
  • Rick Eichstaedt, Growth Management Hearings Board – Discuss Hirst Water law decision PDF of Hirst Water Law Decision
  • Maia Bellon, former Director WA Ecology

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Natural Resource Damages/Superfund Panel

  • Dr. Fred Kirshner, Sovereignty through Superfund
  • Patrick Jones – Spokane Indicators – Environmental Quality data
  • Dr. Germán Izón – Professor and Chair, EWU Economics Department, Ecosystem Services
  • Caj Matheson, Director of Natural Resource, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Pilcher property

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Restoration Ecology and Tribal Food Sovereignty

  • Dr. Melodi Wynne, (Spokane Tribe of Indians) –  Community and Cultural Psychology, Spokane Tribal Network’s Tribal Food Sovereignty project
  • Dr. Robin O’Quinn, Biology at EWU, Environmental Science faculty
  • Dr. Rebecca Brown – Biology at EWU, plant ecology or restoration ecology and food sovereignty.  The EWU prairie restoration project.

Watch the Video