Melissa K. Nelson, Ph.D., Guest Faculty

Melissa K. Nelson, Ph.D. is an ecologist, writer, editor, media-maker and native scholar-activist. She is the president/CEO of The Cultural Conservancy, a Native-led indigenous rights organization she had directed since 1993. She is also associate professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University where she teaches courses in Native Science. Her work is dedicated to indigenous rights and revitalization, biocultural heritage protection and environmental justice, intercultural solidarity, and the renewal and celebration of community health and cultural arts. For nearly two decades Melissa has been involved in the Native American food movement in North America and since 2006 in the indigenous food sovereignty movement internationally. Melissa is a Switzer Environmental Fellow and has received awards for documentary films, community engagement, and experiential education. She publishes essays in academic and popular journals and books and documents Native issues through audio and video recordings. Her first edited anthology Original Instructions – Indigenous Teachings For A Sustainable Future (2008), focuses on the persistence of Traditional Ecological Knowledge by contemporary Native communities. Her next edited anthology, Keepers of the Green World: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Sustainability will be out in 2018. She has served on numerous boards of directors, including Earth Island Institute, Bioneers, and the Center for Whole Communities. Melissa is Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis, and Norwegian. She is a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.