Cornell University

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Rhythms of the Land: Indigenous Knowledge, Science, and Thriving Together in a Changing Climate

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center
124 Comstock Knoll Road, Ithaca, NY 14850

A three-day, international conference bringing together communities, scholars and policymakers.

We will present our research findings from Indigenous and rural societies in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, as well as the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and Oneida Lake Watershed in the United States of America. These Indigenous and rural communities have contributed least to the anthropogenic climate crisis but are facing its harshest consequences. While these peoples are largely ignored, we are creating an enabling environment for their voices to be heard at our three-day conference. Rhythms of the Land Conference will present findings from the Ecological Calendars for Climate Adaptation Project (ECCAP) undertaken by a team of students and scholars from the USA, Germany, Italy, and China.

Oct. 11 
To include presentations of our research findings on building local level anticipatory capacity for climate change through implementable ecological calendars. Our research will also be communicated through works of art presented by prominent Indigenous artists from around the world. The diverse calendars for each community will be presented within an artistic aesthetic. Preview the community reports.

Oct. 12 
Will be devoted to policy formulation, communication of climate adaptation strategies, and next steps in applied research. 

Oct. 13
Will identify specific initiatives for action. Collective insights from presenters offer a sustainable roadmap for climate change adaptation – and hope - for all, regardless of political ideology.

COVID-19 event public safety requirements:

Oct. 11 public programming to include:

Nevin Welcome Center, Cornell Botanic Gardens 

9 a.m. - 10 a.m. 
Environmental Justice and Indigenous Communities
James Ross, Teetl’it Gwich’in, Past Chief of Fort McPherson and
Negotiator of the Gwich’in Land Claim Agreement

10 a.m - 10:40 a.m. 
Methodology of Hope – The Role of Ecological Calendars in Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change
Dr. Karim-Aly Kassam, International Professor of Environmental & Indigenous Studies, Dept. of Natural Resources & the Environment

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art

3:15 p.m. - 3:55 p.m. 
Measurements meet human observations:integrating distinctive ways of knowing in the Pamir Mountains to assess local climate change
Professor Cyrus Samimi, University of Bayreuth, Germany

4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m. 
Artists and Communities Panel Conversation: Environmental Justice
Frederick McDonald, Past-Chief Executive Officer Fort McKay First Nation
Natani Notah, Navajo interdisciplinary artist and educator
Tony David, Director, Environmental Division, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe

Oct. 12 public programming to include:

Nevin Welcome Center, Cornell Botanic Gardens 

8:30 a.m. - 9:10 a.m. 
What Are the Challenges for Climate Change Adaptation for Indigenous and Rural Communities?
James Ross, Teetl’it Gwich’in, Past Chief of Fort McPherson and Negotiator of the Gwich’in Land Claim Agreement

Schwartz Performing Arts Center

5:55 p.m. - 6:35 p.m. 
Where Do We Go from Here? Concrete Outcomes for Climate Adaptations
James Ransom, Past Chief Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Past Director, Environment Program, SRMT

6:45 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 
Dance Performance: Blood, Water, Earth
Chancellor Santee Smith

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

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