Date of Award
Master of Science
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Anthropogenic climate change and environmental degradation are global threats that continue to have disproportionate impacts on Indigenous people. Over countless generations, Indigenous people have demonstrated the ability to sustain and care for the world’s human and non-human communities through Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Despite this, in the United States, the field of conservation is dominated by Western science. This erasure of Indigenous knowledge is a result of settler-colonialism; it creates epistemic injustice and threatens collective continuance. To solve this problem, conservation organizations, especially those working with youth and young adults, must to change their approach. This qualitative study compares two youth and young adult-serving, AmeriCorps-affiliated conservation organizations. Data were collected via staff participant interviews and review of organization artifacts. Framing this research in decolonial theory, and specifically in TEK, a matrix was developed which serves as an entry point for well-meaning, justice-orientated organizations who seek to decolonize their operations and practices. Findings suggest that organizations who decolonize have higher representation of Indigenous people in corps, staff and board positions.
McAllister, Elizabeth, "Stewarding stolen lands: Decolonizing conservation organizations" (2020). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 18356.