Autumn Powell, 2024


Geography and Environmental Systems (GES)

My thesis project will focus on how restoration and conservation programs is not realistic or ideal if there are no Indigenous people involved. For instance, The Chesapeake Bay watershed flows into six different states and is heavily invested with various programs ranging from biologists, policymakers, local government agencies, academic institutes, and businesses. Yet there is little to no information mentioned of collaborating with 21 st century, existing communities of Indigenous people. The purpose of this project is to investigate institute program’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as being inclusive by acknowledging local tribal’s ecological knowledge as its own set of knowledge, between governmental institutes and tribal members residing in the state of Maryland.
My thesis project was influenced and inspired by observing the local Baltimore area, having
class discussions involving Indigenous people, and the lack of information on presence of Native
Indigeneity in the Eastern states. Settler colonialism has influenced the way this country is
shaped, including the education of what is learned and what is not.
“We are people with a past, not of a past.”
I’m Naahiłii dóó Diné asdzáán (Black and Navajo woman) from Window Rock, Arizona and
happy to be here in Maryland, UMBC and iCARE program.
UMBC Mentor: Maggie Holland
Partner Mentors: Ashley Minner Jones (Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian)
Community Stakeholders: Maria Day & Megan Craynon (Maryland State Archives)