2015 Conference

  2015 Geoscience Alliance Conference

21-23 March, 2015

 Doubletree by Hilton, Portland

 Portland, Oregon

“GA3:  A Changing Climate’s Effects on Rivers, Estuaries
Oceans, First Foods, and Tribal Health”

  ” The Geoscience Alliance is a national alliance of individuals committed to broadening participation of Native Americans in the geosciences. Its members are tribal colleges, universities, and research centers; native elders and community members; students (K12, undergraduate and graduate); formal and informal educators; and other interested individuals.”


The last GA conference centered on the headwaters of the Columbia River and how technology can be used to strengthen tribal self-determination. Portland, Oregon the location of the host institution, the Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction at Oregon Health and Sciences University, sits directly on the Columbia River and frames a natural extension for the story begun at the 2012 GA conference.

CMOP is a national science and technology center which focuses on using technology emplaced in the Columbia River and along the Pacific coastal margin to detect changes in the environment and is working to perfect models of river, estuary, and ocean shelf systems. These models can then be used by natural resource managers and environmental engineers.

Framework for A Changing Climate’s Effects on Rivers, Estuaries, Oceans, and Tribal Health:

The Natural Resources Department of the Umatilla tribe has adopted a model of resource management based on the order that foods are traditionally served in this tribe (downloaded from: www.umatilla.nsn.us/DNRUmatillaRiverVision.pdf ). This same structure can be seen in a display at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

  1. Water
  2. Salmon and other fish
  3. Deer, elk, other land animals
  4. Cous, celery, camas, bitterroot and other below ground plants
  5. Huckleberry, chokeberry and other above ground foods

GA framework serving order

The Second Geoscience Alliance National Conference: Home Places, Local Landscapes, Traditional Knowledge, and Modern Technologies focused on water resources and hydrology technologies. Using this tribal framework based on first foods, if we move to fish and salmon production in rivers, estuaries and oceans this year it sets up a natural progression to move to an area where land animals are the primary first foods for GANC 4. As an example, the next conference (2017) could be held on the Navajo Nation where sheep are a big part of the culture. Both humans and sheep have been affected by uranium mining contaminants in the water, air, and soil, and represent a significant threat to the health of Diné lands and peoples.


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