Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 29, 2021

Bioneers: Listen to Cutcha Risling Baldy 'Indigenous Voices for Decolonized Futures'

Bioneers: Listen to Cutcha Risling Baldy 'Indigenous Voices for Decolonized Futures'

By Bioneers

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Indigenous peoples, deeply rooted in place-based knowledge, are leading the way in developing strategies on how best to approach climate justice and climate resilience.

What does climate and environmental justice look like when Indigenous voices are brought to the forefront? How can we move beyond “land acknowledgements” toward meaningful courses of action for our shared futures?

In California, climate action plans are drawing from time-tested Indigenous fire and land management approaches; Governor Newsom is launching a Truth and Healing Commission; and across the state, communities are participating in land return to Indigenous nations.

Leading Indigenous educator Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy provides a three-step approach to re-imagining climate and environmental justice in California and beyond, focusing on concrete actions that challenge us to dream better futures together.

Dr. Risling Baldy delivered this talk at the 2020 Bioneers Conference, introduced by Nina Simons.

Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University. Her research is focused on Indigenous feminisms, California Indians and decolonization. She received her Ph.D. in Native American Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research from the University of California, Davis and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Literary Research from San Diego State University. She also has her B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University. She has published in the Ecological Processes Journal, the Wicazo Sa Review, and the Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society journal. She has also published creative writing in the As/Us journal and News from Native California. She is also the author of a popular blog that explores issues of social justice, history and California Indian politics and culture.

Dr. Risling Baldy's first book We Are Dancing For You: Native feminisms and the revitalization of women's coming-of-age ceremonies uses a framework of Native Feminisms to locate revitalization within a broad context of decolonizing praxis and considers how this renaissance of women's coming-of-age ceremonies confounds ethnographic depictions of Native women; challenges anthropological theories about menstruation, gender, and coming-of-age; and addresses gender inequality and gender violence within Native communities. The book is available with the University of Washington Press.

Dr. Risling Baldy is Hupa, Yurok and Karuk and an enrolled member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in Northern California. She grew up practicing the traditional ways of her people and values the lessons and knowledge that she gained from these experiences. In 2007, Dr. Risling Baldy co-founded the Native Women's Collective, a nonprofit organization that supports the continued revitalization of Native American arts and culture. She lives in Humboldt County with her husband, daughter, and a puppy named Buffy.

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