Native American Studies Professor Links Native Voices to Water, Fire and Land

a woman in a yellow jacket burning hay with a group of people
UC Davis Professor of Native American Studies Beth Rose Middleton throws deergrass onto a burning pile as she and students take part in a cultural burn at the Cache Creek Nature Preserve in Woodland. (Alysha Beck/UC Davis)

By Jeffrey Day on April 20, 2021

"Beth Rose Middleton, professor and chair of the Department of Native American Studies, is a leading voice on three projects that recently received a combined $1.5 million in funding to advance ongoing Indigenous research connected to water, fire and land.

  • Middleton has been awarded $230,000 from the Resources Legacy Fund for her book project “Removing Dams and Restoring Tribal Homelands.
  • She will oversee and mentor a postdoctoral position studying Indigenous fire practices, funded by $226,000 from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
  • She is also part of a project receiving $900,000 from the University of California Office of the President that will examine the return of land to Native peoples and develop UC curriculum on the topic.

'All these projects inform one another and bring together the different aspects of my research and collaborations in overlapping, multidisciplinary fields,' said Middleton, Yocha Dehe Chair in California Indian Studies. 'I see them as reflecting a holistic approach to research and teaching that embraces areas from the humanities to environmental science. As such, they’re a good fit for UC Davis, which is known for bringing diverse disciplines together.'

Support provided through the endowed Yocha Dehe Chair laid the groundwork for these studies and awards, Middleton said.

All the projects aim to 'foreground Native voices and work in partnership with Native community members,' she said."

Read the full story at College of Letters and Science News