To Improve Communication, Native Americans and the Corps of Engineers Meet at UB

Program is designed to improve the ways that both parties work together on projects

Release Date: March 16, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- An ambitious ecosystem restoration program at the University at Buffalo that emphasizes working with local Indian nations has led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to present its national training workshop, "Consulting with Indian Nations," in partnership with UB on March 24-26.

Hosted by UB's Department of American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers --Buffalo District, the workshop will be held in the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, 2402 N. Forest Road in Amherst.

It is the first time that the Corps of Engineers has sponsored this training workshop with a university.

On March 25, at 7 p.m., the workshop will host a free event, open to the public, "Indigenous Perspective on Our Relationship to the Natural World" by Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan and SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of American Studies in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. The talk will be held at 250 Baird Hall on UB's North (Amherst) Campus.

UB's host for the workshop will be Alan Rabideau, Ph.D., professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering and director of ERIE, "Ecosystem Restoration Through Interdisciplinary Exchange," a unique graduate-training program at UB funded by the National Science Foundation.

Don Grinde, UB professor of American Studies, an environmental historian and a Yamasee Indian, will serve on a panel on "Ecosystem Restoration and the Indian Perspective."

The workshop will focus on getting the most out of tribal consultation, particularly on environmental projects.

Topics to be covered include the evolution of Federal Indian policy and laws requiring consultation with Indian nations; policies and programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the role of "relocated" nations; the history of regional relationships between Indian nations and federal agencies; consultation strategies and cross-cultural communication.

The Corps of Engineers has partnered with UB on numerous projects, including ERIE, which, unlike many programs in related fields, integrates social and policy considerations throughout the program to train scientists to become sensitive to the broad range of values and cultures in a diverse community, such as Western New York. Students in ERIE benefit from the project's partnerships and internships with more than 16 local organizations, including the environmental programs of the Tuscarora Nation, Seneca Nation of Indians and Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe; Buffalo/Niagara Riverkeeper; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. and Canadian environmental agencies.

For more information on the workshop, please contact Professor Alan Rabideau through the ERIE Web site at

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