Cornell University

Jonathan Thompson Tribal First Foods and the Umatilla River Vision

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 12:20pm to 2:00pm

Milstein Hall, Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium
943 University Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Tribal First Foods and the Umatilla River Vision: Planning and Implementation of Large-Scale Habitat Restoration in the Inland Northwest

Jonathan Thompson (M.R.P. ’05) works for the Department of Natural Resources of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation as the assistant fish habitat project leader for the Walla Walla Basin. He is a Walla Walla County Planning Commissioner and is on the board of directors of Blue Mountain Heart to Heart, a non-profit providing HIV and Hepatitis C outreach, case management, and syringe exchange. Before coming to study at Cornell he worked in the Caribbean, first as a Peace Corps water and sanitation volunteer, and later as a logistical coordinator for a post-hurricane housing rebuilding projects.

Across the Pacific Northwest, enforcement of both tribal treaty rights and the Endangered Species Act have directed significant resources towards salmon recovery, including riparian and instream habitat planning and restoration. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation's Umatilla River Vision is a planning document that draws on the tribal First Foods — the order in which the tribal foundational foods appear in the creation story and are presented during traditional feasts — to present a holistic view of the riverine landscape. Tribal salmon restoration work is embedded within the framework of the River Vision as well as within complex geographical and jurisdictional contexts. Thompson’s work as a planner and implementer requires working simultaneously at multiple scales and across functional specializations, and the tools and theories of international planning have proven unexpectedly applicable.

Cosponsored by City and Regional Planning, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, the American Indian Program and Engaged Learning + Research

Event Type



College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, City and Regional Planning, Sustainability


hum, aap, myC, dnr




Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Gar-Yin Lee

Contact Phone

(607) 255-9987


Jonathan Thompson

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