Acclaimed author and member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, will be the featured keynote speaker at the “WaterWays: Valuing Tribal and Indigenous Perspectives to Shape Southern California Water Resiliency” panel discussion on Zoom Tuesday, March 1, from noon to 2 p.m.

The virtual event, hosted by Cal State San Bernardino, is free and open to the public. Register at the event’s RSVP form.

Gilio-Whitaker, author of the book “As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock,” and local tribal representatives will share their perspectives and strategies that promote a more balanced approach to protecting and sustaining environmental resources for cultural and ecological benefits. Participants can expect to gain a deeper understanding of tribal perspectives in water policy, management and educational efforts.

“Although indigenous and tribal perspectives are present in many of our courses, research and service activities, we hope that this event will be one of many that helps bring our community together so that we can work collaboratively to understand the value of these perspectives across multiple disciplines and learning activities,” said Jennifer Alford, associate professor in the CSUSB Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences and the event organizer. 

The Waterways panel discussion is a result of the Southern California region being particularly vulnerable to water shortages because of the dry Mediterranean climate that receives only seasonal local water resources coming from snowmelt and precipitation events in the San Bernardino Mountains. Despite these limited water resources, they are essential to providing downstream water across San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties to some of the most populated and poorest communities in California.

The event is a collaborative effort between the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, the Office of Community Engagement, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Water Resources Institute, and the Water Resources and Policy Initiatives. The event was generously funded by the CSUSB Intellectual Life Fund.

Gilio-Whitaker is an educator and writer on indigenous environmental justice and other indigenous policy related issues. She works with educational institutions of all kinds, especially those environmentally related. Gilio-Whitaker is a lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University, San Marcos.