Duluth Cohort

A campus/community partner of the Mellon Environmental Stewardship, Place, and Community Initiative.

The Duluth Cohort has formed an Indigenous Women’s Water Sisterhood to highlight the historical and ongoing relationship Native American peoples have with the Lake Superior watershed. Activities are underway to create an outdoor classroom, ceremony space, and signage along the St. Louis River trail. The space and historical knowledge will provide experiential learning opportunities for students and community members. The Duluth team is creating a website to provide a toolkit and K-12 curriculum that focuses on Native American history, epistemologies, science, and resources for students, teachers, and faculty engagement. The Indigenous Women’s Water Sisterhood is guided by an elder according to traditional protocol. 

Leadership Team

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Faculty Lead: Roxanne Biidabinokwe Gould

Dr. Roxanne Biidabinokwe Gould is Grand Traverse Band Odawa/Ojibwe. She is an associate professor in the Department of Education-Ruth A. Meyers Center for Indigenous Education, and also teaches in the Environmental Education program. Roxanne’s work experience includes projects and research throughout the world with a focus on Indigenous peoples and education, land justice, traditional ecological knowledge and environmental sustainability.  Her research includes restoration of Indigenous sacred sites, Indigenous food sovereignty, TEK (traditional ecological knowledge), Indigenous women’s water teachings, implications for sustainability, and examination of Bolivia’s agreement with Mother Earth and the Living Well model. As a founder of the Bdote Learning Center, Roxanne developed the model for the place-based Dakota and Ojibwe language immersion school. She presently serves on the governing council of Makočé Ikikčupí, a Dakota land recovery project; board of the Indigenous Educational Institute; as elder emeritus for Dream of Wild Health, a Native gardening project; and as the chair of the Indigenous Roundtable for the Science Museum of Minnesota. 

Faculty Lead: Wendy F. Todd

Wendy F. Todd is Alaska Native Xaadas (Haida) from Hydaburg, Alaska. Her Haida name is K’ah Skaahluwaa she is Eagle of the Sdast’ aas (Fish egg house) clan . She is an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of American Indian Studies and Earth & Environmental Sciences. She is a research geoscientist whose research focuses on examining microbial diversity, biogeochemistry, and biomineralization in metalliferous groundwater and marine ecosystems from deep-sea hydrothermal volcanoes to hydrothermal springs in Southeast Alaska and Yellowstone National Park. Dr. Todd is an Associate editor for the Journal of Geoscience Education and on the editorial board for UMDs Native Community Editorial Board. She is on the Board of Directors of her tribal non-profit Xaadas Kíl Kuyáas, and of the American Indian Science & Engineering Society. Over the last decade she has partnered with her tribal community founding and directing the Geoscience Education Program, working to couple science with Traditional Knowledge into K–12 education by incorporating language and culture into science education. Through her work she seeks to increase the number of Native American/Alaska Native students represented in STEM disciplines to increase diversity and innovation, and to empower the next generation of Native leaders.

Mindy Granley

As Sustainability Officer for the City of Duluth, Mindy Granley works to advance sustainability initiatives within the City and community. She is charged with developing ordinances, regulations, and associated programs while serving as the primary liaison to the community on sustainability efforts. Her position is also responsible for improvement of City policies, programs, and initiatives that promote environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Before working at the City of Duluth, Mindy served for 12 years as sustainability director at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), where she coordinated sustainability efforts in operations (carbon tracking, waste reduction, stormwater management), student engagement, outreach, and integration of sustainability into the research and learning experiences for all students. She championed campus projects and led outreach to promote energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions, all while connecting students to learning opportunities in the community. Prior to UMD, Mindy spent six years working on watershed management and stormwater outreach in northern Minnesota at local, regional, and state levels.

Renee Gurneau

Renee Gurneau is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. As an educator and former Tribal College President, she is a firm believer that Native people have the right and responsibility to direct their own empowered educational experience. She has expertise in developing programs and agencies, and in conducting evaluations and analysis from an Anishinaabe cultural perspective. She has designed, directed, implemented and evaluated many community-based programs both on reservations and in urban areas, including chemical dependency programs, youth programs, education, environmental programs, culture-based wellness initiatives, restorative justice, Indigenous Conflict Resolution, and Native family therapy programs. She is coauthor, with Lea Foushee, of Sacred Water: Water for Life, a seminal work on Anishinaabe relationship to water. She is a former Kellogg Fellow in the Kellogg National Leadership Program.

Rachel King-Siert

Rachel King-Siert is Diné and Ojibwe enrolled with the Red Lake Nation of Northern Minnesota. She has worked for the Red Lake Boys and Girls Club, Mending the Hoop, Life House, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and MN Autism Society.  At Dartmouth College, Minneapolis Technical and Community College, Concordia College, and the University of Minnesota,  she worked in academic outreach and curriculum development, always with diverse communities. Currently, King-Siert works with the University of Minnesota Medical-Duluth Campus on a STEM and nutrition project creating Ojibwe culture and language-infused activity books and curriculum. She also is currently working on developing a distance-learning project with Bois Forte Indian Reservation’s Nett Lake Elementary School, with a focus on hands-on learning activities to supplement classroom lessons. You can see a list of her publications available here.

Arianna Northbird

Arianna is a Fond du Lac (FDL) enrolled band member pursuing higher educational goals to lead within her FDL Reservation community. She is pursuing a master’s in Tribal Resource & Environmental Stewardship at UMD. She has participated in Research Experiences for Undergraduates on Sustainable Land and Water Resources understanding wild rice sediment chemistry. Additionally, she has participated in two internships with Minnesota Sea Grant as an Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Promoter for Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers and Habitattitude campaigns and is a lead student researcher for an invasive species project that is building upon Indigenous research methodologies. Currently, Northbird is an Americorps STEM VISTA working to create research experiences for college students and building capacity that will pave the way for the next generation of students.