Developing Cross-Cultural Competence and Increasing Diversity in the Wildlife Management Profession

Symposium
ROOM: HCCC, Room 22
SESSION NUMBER: 52
 
Most issues associated with wildlife management are inherently multi-cultural, and therefore the ability to work across cultural boundaries is vital to the success of wildlife management programs. By seeking to train students and professionals in cross-cultural competence as well as increase diversity in wildlife settings, we can maximize the probability of successful outcomes for programs in wildlife management and conservation. In this symposium, speakers from diverse settings including tribal agencies, U.S. federal agencies, and universities will present topics associated with the development of cross-cultural competence and diversity both within their organizations as well as through collaborations with other organizations. The symposium will have a specific emphasis on working with indigenous people, and many talks will be applicable to collaborations across any cultural boundaries. The symposium will include perspectives from several different tribes and tribal agencies on working with other agencies and on providing in-house training for non-native employees. Presenters from federal agencies will provide insights into incorporating traditional knowledge into management programs, and on how to make cross-cultural collaborations successful. Finally, university presenters will discuss programs that have been developed to foster diversity in natural resource professions, as well as to train future natural resource managers in cross-cultural competence. Thus, a multitude of perspectives and approaches on how to increase diversity and cross-cultural competence within organizations will be provided to symposium participants. The interactions between presenters and attendees will enhance the likelihood of successful collaborations that reach across cultural boundaries.

8:10AM Researching with Respect and Honor: Collaborations with Tribal Nations
  Mark Bellcourt
Researching with Respect and Honor: Collaborations with Tribal Nations Too often researchers have historically conducted research on Native American reservations and ceded lands without consultation or even consideration of the people who live on the land. Nowhere is that more apparent than the University of Minnesota where researchers, who claim academic freedom and intellectual property rights, have for many years conducted social and environmental research that impacts the tribal people of Minnesota both short-term and long-term. Recognizing the insensitivity and legal rights of sovereign nations, The University is now developing new policies and training for researchers who want to conduct research on and near reservations. Although the new protocols specifically address research of manoomin (wild rice), if approved by the end of this summer, it could dramatically impact other disciplines as well. The new policy will require potential researchers to do training on the history of Indigenous peoples of Minnesota, obtain prior approval from the impacted Tribal Nation, and collaborate with reservation officials and share data and publications with those involved with the research. This presentation will highlight the history and process for implementing new protocols and will discuss questions that every researcher should ask before engaging in research that impacts Indigenous peoples.
8:30AM Implicit Bias: Impacts and Effects
  Pamala Morris
2018 The Wildlife Society Symposium ABSTRACT: Title: “Unconscious Bias:” Impact and Effects ABSTRACT: This presentation examines the role that unconscious bias plays in educational attainment and outcomes, employment, health and well-being. Unconscious bias has come to be recognized as a powerful force that not only shapes individual actions but institutional policies and practices as well. Recruitment, development and retention of valued employees are important for any successful organization. But when those processes are skewed by unconscious bias they can lead to missed opportunities and the loss of vital staff and students. And because it’s unconscious, many of those experiencing it will not even realize they are demonstrating bias behaviors, nor the impact these are having in the workplace and society in general. This presentation will help the audience to understand that everyone has biases. Participants will also be able to recognize the sources of unconscious bias and how bias can influence interactions with others. In addition, participants will learn about steps that can be taken to prevent making judgments and engaging in actions that are based on bias.
8:50AM Change the Trend: Cultural Diversity Within Wildlife Organizations – an Indigenous Person’s Perspective
  Crystal Leonetti
I am an indigenous person working in a profession where I have been an outsider. Indigenous people of the land have been treated poorly for their way of life over the span of decades by various forms of government. Yet as wildlife professionals, and as indigenous peoples, we both have a deep care for wildlife and habitats, and this should be embraced. In my presentation, I will provide my perspective as well as my agency’s point of view. My objectives are to show how we can reverse the historical trend of poor treatment of indigenous peoples and attract diverse talent by first focusing inward. The most effective organizations value and invest in the individuals in the workforce; and the reciprocal reaction is individuals invest in the mission of the organization. The organization’s trajectory to success then becomes reliant on how diverse its workforce is. “Diversity” is characterized as race, color, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, education, disability, veteran status, and more. “Diversity of thought” then, may originate from people in any of these categories, but also includes where an employee grew up, her or his family of origin, the university they attended, etc. Diversity is unlimited. Everyone around you is diverse! Do your colleagues of diverse backgrounds feel you listen to them? Every single person in the organization has the responsibility to value one another. We have to ensure that diversity of thought is embraced throughout the profession. It takes the same amount of time to engage diverse individuals as it does to engage people with whom we feel comfortable. All it takes is a change in perspective. I will walk the audience through a thought experiment to open their consciousness to their own interactions with diverse colleagues. I will focus on inclusion of Indigenous peoples.
9:10AM Application of Traditional Knowledge in Alaska: A Federal Agency Shares Its Experience
  Jeffrey J. Brooks; James J. Kendall; Chris Campbell; Kathleen L. Wedemeyer; Catherine C. Coon
Professionals who collect and use traditional knowledge to support resource management decisions often are preoccupied with concerns over how and if traditional knowledge should be integrated with science. To move beyond the integration dilemma, we treat traditional knowledge and science as distinct and complementary knowledge systems. We focus on applying traditional knowledge within the decision-making process. We share examples of how the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has used traditional knowledge in decision making in the North Slope Borough, Alaska, including 1) using traditional knowledge in designing, planning, and conducting scientific research on an important fishery; 2) applying information from both knowledge systems to monitor subsistence whaling practices; and 3) using traditional knowledge in environmental impact assessment. Applying traditional knowledge produces more inclusive decisions, creates mutual understanding, and enhances respect for both traditional knowledge and science.
9:30AM Salmon to Elk: Post-Hydropower Subsistence Needs of a Once Salmon Dependent Tribe
  Jacob Turner; Savanah Walker
Up until 1940, the Tribes in northeastern Washington State gathered salmon along the upper Columbia River and relied on them as a cultural food source and a major part of their diet. In 1942, the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam was completed without a fish passage system. Estimating the annual loss of nearly 1 million salmon, the Tribal people were left without their most reliable source of food. Historically, hunting of land animals provided the smallest amount of food to the Spokane people in North Eastern Washington. Game meat was estimated to consist of ten to twelve percent of the Spokane people’s annual caloric intake. Without salmon, this tribe has been forced to change its diet and culture that historically relied on a once steady food source. With the first relocation of elk in 1990, the Spokane people are adapting to life without salmon. Management of big game and their habitat on the Reservation is at the forefront to support an ever-growing population for the Tribe to rely on for subsistence living.
09:50AM Break
12:50PM Natural Resources Agency Role in Cross Cultural Competence Training; Glifwc as an Example
  Jonathan Gilbert
The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission is an intertribal, natural resources agency whose mission is to assist member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, reserved treaty rights in a manner that is biologically sound and culturally appropriate. GLIFWC’s strategic plan states that employees are to infuse Ojibwe culture into all aspects of our work. The Biological Services Division is striving to integrate TEK and western science in tribal management plans. All of these missions and plans require that GLIFWC employees have some knowledge and familiarity with aspects of Ojibwe customs and practices. GLIFWC provides opportunities for employees to participate in, and thus learn about, various ceremonies. All meetings start with sage, tobacco, drum songs and prayers and employees participate. We hold solstice and equinox ceremonies at the office each quarter. There are runs, powwow and other opportunities during the summer. Employees are exposed to harvesting methods and learn to cook, tan, knock, weave or otherwise use the items subject to treaty harvest activities. Employees are taught some basic Ojibwe language so that they can properly introduce themselves. However, there are potential pitfalls to these efforts. Care must be taken to ensure that infusion of Ojibwe culture into the work environment does not substantially conflict with the person’s own belief system. I have found that experiential learning is the most effective way in which new cultural mores can be learned and group decision making is the best way to find solutions to potential conflicts.
1:10PM Solving the Problem of the Mean Individual: Insights From Indigenous Knowledge
  Ray Pierotti
Management schemes for wildlife are often unsuccessful in maintaining healthy, sustainable populations, especially approaches based on Maximum Sustainable Yield, which fail to account for variation in reproductive output. North American Indigenous hunters had considerable knowledge about the dynamics of local populations and were aware that they were subject to major fluctuations. These peoples developed the concept of “Keepers of the Game,” which suggested that if fish or game animals were not treated with proper respect, these “keepers” could remove their population, making it unavailable for human exploitation. The “keepers” concept may have represented recognition of exceptional individuals that had unusual influence on local population dynamics. Existence of such individuals has been established empirically through long-term studies that show that less than 10% of a cohort may contribute 75-90% of recruits to succeeding generations. Recent data from large fish suggest that in large females reproduction scales with size and suggest that larger mothers contribute disproportionately to population replenishment. Global change and overharvesting cause fish sizes to decline, which supports the idea of unusual individuals controlling the future of populations. Incorporation of this concept into management schemes might lead to increased sustainability of wildlife populations.
1:30PM Learning From My Ancestors
  Zintkala Eiring
Zintkala, explains the importance of names and family in Oglala Lakota culture. Specifically, the significance of learning how Native Americans identify themselves and the power of respect when correctly saying a Tribe’s original name. Furthermore, Zintkala touches on the role of familial introductions in Native American society and how a person’s own identification is made up of who has lived before them in their family. The speaker explains the journey her ancestors traveled, from growing up in tipi camps across the plains, to being transported by train to Carlisle Industrial Boarding school to learn the American lifestyle, and returning to the prairie and the Black Hills to see it changed to reservation with no bison. She compares her ancestor’s stories to the historical events that occurred between the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the United States government. Zintkala carries on Lakota traditions by dancing jingle dress and wearing her mother’s hand-made Lakota regalia. She explains the significance of style and stories in Lakota dance and music. She touches on how people present in her intermediate family are similar to ones who lived generations ago. Zintkala tells the stories of her ancestors as if she is keeping their voices alive to impact people in the present. In all things said in this presentation, Zintkala asks for permission and guidance from her ancestors. It is with the upmost respect that she tells her ancestor’s stories. Zintkala’s perspective is her own and may differ among her own Tribe and other Tribes. She asks for listeners to please be aware of this uniqueness.
1:50PM Initiatives to Improve Native American Representation in Natural Resources Through Partnerships.
  Todd N. Nims; William Schaedla
The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), a 1994 tribal land grant institution, has a four decade-long history of training Native American students in a variety of academic and technical fields. Prominent programs in the Advanced Technical Education Department include Natural Resources Management and Environmental Science. Following more general national trends, Native communities have experienced declining interest in hunting, fishing, and other natural resources related activities. This drop has affected recruitment into these SIPI programs. SIPI also faces declining enrollment as students have opted for four-year institutions or immediate post high school employment. As a tribal land grant institution, SIPI has a fundamental interest in maintaining robust natural resources outreach. State and federal fish and wildlife agencies have adopted specific schemes to counter declines in professional training and increase recruitment in hunting, fishing, shooting sports, and other outdoor activities. However, certain cultural barriers may prevent Native Americans from participating fully in such programs. Native students may simply not be in positions to recognize and participate. Moreover, barriers within agencies may unintentionally exclude them. SIPI is attempting to overcome these problems by creating programmatic linkages with other agencies and organizations. We have hosted National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) courses on campus with several faculty and students successfully certified. We are also exploring options for work with a planned New Mexico State Game and Fish education facility. And finally, we are seeking feedback and ideas from other participants in this meeting as we proceed with program development.
2:10PM Lessons From the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership
  Kevin Gibson
The Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership (SIGP) seeks to increase the number of indigenous graduate students in STEM disciplines and consists of four regional centers: the University of Alaska at Anchorage and Fairbanks (UA-A&F), the University of Arizona (UA), the Montana University System (University of Montana, Montana Tech, Montana State University; MUS) and Purdue University (PU). The SIGP program has recruited over 300 students since the program began in 2003 and has an overall retention/graduation rate above 85%. SIGP Scholars vary in age (23 to 55 years), family commitments (nearly a third have dependents), and backgrounds (approximately half grew up on a reservation or in a tribal area). A recent evaluation of the SIGP provides insight into key elements of the program from the perspectives of SIGP Scholars. Scholarships provided to the students are a critical benefit. In the absence of SIGP funds, a third of SIGP Scholars indicated they would have to drop out of graduate school and two-thirds indicated they would have to work off campus. About a quarter of SIGP Scholars indicated they use some portion of their SIGP funding to support family members outside of their children or partner. In addition to financial support, SIGP Scholars indicated that key benefits of the program included opportunities to interact with other SIGP students, regular community meetings, mentors who understand their cultural background, mentoring from faculty in addition to their major professor, opportunities to attend scientific conferences, and help finding additional sources of funding.
2:30PM Refreshment Break
3:20PM Building Intercultural Competence in Future Wildlife Professionals
  Elizabeth Flaherty
Professionals working in wildlife biology and management careers will be required to interact, negotiate, and collaborate with people from a wide range of backgrounds and a diversity of cultures. To be successful, future professionals need to be able to recognize that decisions and actions made by stakeholders and their colleagues and collaborators are influenced by their personal cultural perspectives and worldviews. Students often over-estimate their intercultural effectiveness and need specific training and mentoring to successfully negotiate cultural differences. Training to develop cross-cultural competencies and to build cultural self-awareness allows students to develop the skills necessary to begin to recognize their own cultural rules and biases. This training also can build their intercultural empathy and skills related to working with others including improving their understanding of verbal and non-verbal communication and developing their understanding of differences in conflict resolution styles. While additional courses in cross-cultural competency would be useful for students, these skills can be developed in the traditional wildlife classroom. Such skills and training can be interwoven into existing learning objectives, content requirements, and course projects, and examples of such activities will be described. I will also present options for evaluating student gains in intercultural competency and the related skills, knowledge, and attitudes using assessment tools, such as the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), Beliefs, Events, and Values Inventory (BEVI), and the Intercultural Knowledge and Effectiveness rubric developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
3:40PM Taking Education Kudos – How One University Encourages Cross-cultural competence
  Carol Chambers
How do you respond when asked for “proof” that Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) exists? Do you offer peer-reviewed literature on TEK, awareness of different cultures (“How many federally recognized tribes are there in the United States?”), provide deeper investigations into tribal management (“Contrast approaches to wildlife management used by two tribes of your choice”), invite tribal members into classrooms, or offer courses teaching multicultural perspectives? With over 15 federally recognized tribes in Arizona, Northern Arizona University (NAU) recognizes and promotes cross-cultural competence using these and additional approaches. Because NAU seeks to be one of the nation’s leading universities serving Native Americans, NAU’s strategic plan encourages a positive university climate and culture, collaboration and outreach, and engagement and understanding of cultures and tribal nations within and outside the university. The Office of Native American Initiatives provides a community of support, programs, and facilities such as the Native American Cultural Center that serves as a central hub for Native American activities on campus. In addition, NAU supports leadership programs and environmental programs for tribal members, partners with tribal colleges and universities as well as Indigenous-serving institutions from around the world. In any classroom, diversity should be valued and promoted; there are many opportunities to promote cross-cultural competence. So how do you respond when asked for “proof” that Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) exists? In one classroom example, we use Table 1 from a peer-reviewed article by Mason et al. (2012, Journal of Forestry http://dx.doi.org/10.5849/jof.11-006) as the basis for a ‘matching’ exercise. After an introduction to TEK, students must organize terms such as ‘abstract’, ‘concrete’, ‘qualitative’, and ‘quantitative’ as either TEK or Scientific Ecological Knowledge (SEK), encouraging them to think about the values of both types of knowledge in resource management. Management examples from the Yakima and Menominee Nations follow.
4:00PM Working Across Differences: A Model for Integrating Diverse Perspectives Into a Natural Resources Curriculum and Assessing Student Learning
  Nancy E. Mathews; Margaret Burke; Allan M. Strong; Marie C. Vea-Fagnant
The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources recently completed a multifaceted, multiyear curriculum revitalization that emphasizes environmental leadership, competencies and transferable skills. One area of focus, which reflects the School’s core values of environmental justice and equity, was engagement in difficult conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, power and privilege in the natural resources disciplines. Starting with articulation of the specific learning outcome “working across differences,” we integrated course content on intercultural knowledge, racism, power and privilege, and engaging with tension. Signature assignments were woven into core courses throughout a four-year curriculum as a means to assess learning. Concurrently, the School engaged in a diversity assessment to identify short- and long-term actions necessary to create an inclusive, equitable and empowered learning community to ensure that all students flourish. The recommendations of this assessment include faculty and staff professional development each semester. This presentation shares our approach to revitalize our core curriculum and ensure that issues of environmental justice, equity and cultural awareness were fully integrated into core courses. We highlight our School-wide approach to ensure that faculty and staff also engaged in this learning and reflection along with the students. These experiences serve as a case study for implementing systemic change to teaching and learning in the natural resources to advance leadership, equity, and justice and thereby achieve academic excellence.
4:20PM Perspective of an Indigenous Scholar in Natural Resources: New Mexico State University to Purdue University
  Daniel Bird; Kai-t Leonard Blue-Sky
Indigenous people are disproportionately underrepresented in wildlife professions and broadly within STEM fields. Reason for this is that barriers exist for indigenous students to access graduate programs in STEM fields like wildlife. As a result of my experiences I will address some of the barriers and how I overcame them in my career. I am a tribal member of Kewa Pueblo, located in Central New Mexico, USA. I received my Bachelors of Science Degree in Wildlife Science from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico in 2014. I am currently pursuing my Masters of Science Degree in Wildlife at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. As an Indigenous Graduate Student, I discovered important factors that help me succeed in academia such as: finding a community on campus that allows students to feel safe and connected with other peers from similar backgrounds; balancing my cultural identify and continuing to be an active community member of my tribe along with advancing in school; and finding motivation to complete degrees especially those that allow me to return and give back to tribal communities. Therefore, my presentation shares my experiences 1) as an undergraduate pursuing a degree in natural resources, such as internships, courses taken, programs, and mentorship 2) completing my Bachelors degree and applying to Purdue University 3) my life decisions that helped me decide to pursue a master’s degree, such as participating in an undergraduate research program along with other indigenous students in Costa Rica and 4) discovering my motivation that helps me complete my master’s degree, such as having my research partner with the Pueblo of Santa Ana, Department of Natural Resources. My experiences are very similar among indigenous tribal students across the country, and when addressed, these experiences no longer become a barrier.
4:40PM Experiential Learning as a Way for Students to Develop Cross-Cultural Competence
  Casey C. Day; Patrick A. Zollner; Jonathan H. Gilbert
Undergraduate students planning to enter careers in wildlife management will be faced with challenges that require addressing the needs of stakeholders with diverse cultural and socio-economic perspectives. To prepare students to address such challenges, formal training is needed that exposes students to intercultural issues and provides an understanding of and appreciation for diverse approaches to resource management. We developed an undergraduate course in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University aimed at fulfilling these needs through in-class lectures and experiential learning. In this talk we focus on the experiential learning aspect of the course, and how it can supplement formal in-class education. For our course, students participated in a 1-week field trip to visit tribal and inter-tribal agencies in northern Wisconsin to gain first-hand knowledge and experience in Indigenous approaches to resource management, treaty rights, and inter-agency collaboration. Students were also exposed to state and county agency practices, and met with stakeholders from non-profit groups as well. During the field trip, we used debriefing exercises and journaling to help students reflect on their experiences and to address their concerns. Feedback from students after the field trip was wholly positive as evidenced by written reflections and course ratings. We conclude that transformative educational experiences coupled with in-class discussions of diverse resource management practices coupled with a transformative experience through experiential learning provides an effective means of preparing students to enter careers in natural resource management. While many natural resources program require some type of coursework in cross-cultural awareness, our course linked this content directly to resource management, allowing students to reflect on cultural biases associated with their own field. We encourage undergraduate programs in natural resources and wildlife management to consider incorporating experiential learning programs into their diversity curricula as a means of strengthening students’ cross-cultural skills.

 
Organizers: Casey Day, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; Patrick Zollner, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; Jonathan Gilbert, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Odanah, WI; Serra Hoagland, US Forest Service, Missoula, MT
 
Supported by: Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group; Gender and Ethnic Diversity Working Group

Symposium
Location: Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland Date: October 10, 2018 Time: 8:10 am - 5:00 pm