The Power in Teaching: Dr. Brook Colley
and The Indigenous Gardens Network

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Dr. Brook Colley (Wasco, Warm Springs, Eastern Cherokee, Enrolled: Eastern Band of Cherokee) is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Southern Oregon University Native American Studies program and Coordinator of the Ethnic and Racial Studies program. Colley’s research is focused on federal Indian law & policy, Oregon Tribes, intertribal relations & conflict, and community health & healing. Her book Power in the Telling: Grand Ronde, Warm Springs, and Intertribal Relations in the Casino Era was published in 2019 by the University of Washington Press and was a finalist for the Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction. 

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"Watch The Necessity Series and take action! It is necessary to resist the hegemony of extraction economies and human-centric worldviews that cannibalize life and make us all sick. This film and the associated curriculum are tools that empower communities with knowledge and inspiration to defend the sacred."

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The Native American Studies Program at SOU recently received a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust to initiate the Indigenous Gardens Network - a hub for conversation and coordination around traditional food gathering areas throughout southwestern Oregon. The Indigenous Gardens Network is intended to restore areas where “first foods” and other culturally significant items can be cultivated, harvested and made accessible to Indigenous people. “The Indigenous Gardens Network centers the knowledge and expertise of Native people and communities and approaches all projects with a robust sense of accountability to them. (The network) will be Indigenous-led, driven by their needs and solutions, and based on mutual respect.” 

The Indigenous Gardens Network supports tribes and other Native communities in building sustainable food systems that improve health and well-being, strengthen food security and increase their control over Indigenous agriculture and food networks. Those wishing to contribute to this work may make a donation online or contact Brook Colley (colleyb@sou.edu) for more information about the Indigenous Gardens Network. 

Brook is an advisor to the Necessity documentary series and wrote the college study guide for Necessity: Oil, Water & Climate Resistance, which can be accessed here. Necessity is an excellent tool for outreach, bringing climate struggles and their legal consequences to a personal and practical level.  As you plan a screening, utilize this study guide that includes questions for the classroom, related readings, and climate justice activities and organizations. 

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