20-2 “Native Green” Resource Guide

Nov 15th, 2008 | By | Category: 20-2: Native Green, Online resource guides, Resource Guides, Web Exclusive
By Beau Mitchell and Jeremy Wescott

Discovering the Path to Sustainability

To be “green” means to live sustainably with the earth. Add “Native” to the mix, and the outcome is to live sustainably in a culturally appropriate way that perpetuates Indigenous wisdom. To do so, we need undeniable data supporting lifestyle change, a basic understanding of vital systems, ability to use simple tools for change, and an Indigenous cultural value system.

The resources listed here provide the tools to live more sustainably. Tribal cultural information is not included, but some organizations with a pulse of the tribal cultural community are listed. The best way to glean Indigenous wisdom is to interact with tribal elders or those tribal members who adhere to tribal cultural values. Any other medium attempting to capture tribal culture is sub-par.

The ultimate driver behind living more sustainably is not economic, environmental, or social. When factoring in the “Native” component for living sustainably, the moral obligation predominates. Those morals can only be truly obtained by living with the tribal community or sitting down with tribal custodians of knowledge. Tribal culture is living and passed along through words, motions, postures, voice inflections, eye contact, emotion, and other variables that will not be captured by media.


Sustainable Development Institute
The Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) at the College of Menominee Nation provides multi-media resources for sustaining the forest, sustaining the nation, and sustaining the spirit. Prompted by the success of the sustainable forestry practices of the Menominee, SDI was organized in 1993 to look at sustainable development through the prism provided by Menominee efforts to sustain their forest, culture, traditions, values, society, and people for the past centuries. Research, education, and outreach associated with the achievements of the Menominee Nation in sustainable forestry are the focus of the institute. Contact: Melissa Cook, director, at mcook@menoominee.edu or (715) 799-6226, ext. 3043.

SDI is currently conducting a sustainability indicators research project at the College of Menominee Nation. The process of identifying, benchmarking, and improving upon the indicators of sustainability at the college will be shared with tribal colleges throughout the nation. The benchmarking process includes identifying and incorporating tribal cultural values into the benchmarking process. For more information on the sustainability indicators research project, contact Beau Mitchell at bmitchell@menominee.edu or at (715) 799-6226, ext. 3145.

American Indian Higher Education Consortium
The search for tribal cultural knowledge can start at the tribal higher educational hub. The American Indian Higher Education Consortium provides a list of all the tribal colleges and universities in the United States and Canada that are members. Visit AIHEC’s website for the list with contact information for each. Cultural knowledge is best gleaned from personal and community interaction, and the tribal colleges can serve as a good starting point.

National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers
No media can replace the real-life experience of sitting down and learning from a tribal elder. The National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers has a solid listing of tribal historic preservation officers (THPO) throughout the United States. THPOs are liaisons to tribal cultural communities. Oftentimes, a THPO can facilitate a meeting with local tribal elders and can give insight on the appropriate cultural protocols for approaching a tribal elder. The association also has information on tribal museums, legislation, and an excellent listing of federal and state laws pertaining to historic preservation. Contact: (202) 628-8476

National Park Service Tribal Historic Preservation Program
The National Park Service is an excellent starting place for finding cultural contacts in Indian Country. The website contains a listing of all tribal historic preservation officers (THPO) in the United States and includes information on grants, program partners, and a link to the Cultural Resources Diversity Program. Visit the website for more information on the role the National Park Service plays in tribal historic preservation. Contact: James Bird at james_bird@nps.gov or at (202) 354-1837.

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