Native ecologist, scholar and activist, Melissa K. Nelson (US) will be joining the stellar line up of speakers at the upcoming Philanthropy Summit 2017. She has served as the president of The Cultural Conservancy since 1993—an indigenous rights organisation that works to protect and revitalise indigenous cultures, empowering them in the direct application of their traditional knowledge and practices on ancestral lands. She is an associate professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University.
Melissa’s work is dedicated to indigenous rights and revitalisation, biocultural heritage protection and environmental justice, intercultural solidarity, and the renewal and celebration of community health and cultural arts.
For nearly two decades, Melissa has been involved in the Native American food movement in North America and since 2006 in the indigenous food sovereignty movement internationally. She is a Switzer Environmental Fellow and has received awards for documentary films, community engagement, and experiential education. She publishes essays in books as well as academic and popular journals. She documents Native issues through audio and video recordings.
Melissa’s first edited anthology Original Instructions – Indigenous Teachings For A Sustainable Future (2008), focuses on the persistence of Traditional Ecological Knowledge by contemporary Native communities. Her next edited anthology, Keepers of the Green World: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Sustainability will be out in 2017. She has served on numerous boards of directors, including Earth Island Institute, Bioneers, and the Center for Whole Communities. Melissa is Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis, and Norwegian (a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians).
The Summit takes place on Wednesday 10 – Friday 12 May, Wellington. Te Papa.