Graduate Student, Portland State University
“The earth is part of my body I belong to the land out of which I came. The Earth is my mother.” (Toohoolhoolzote, Nimiipuu leader)
Ciarra Greene is an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe (NPT). Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) culture and traditions emphasize environmental stewardship and drives Ciarra’s academic, professional, and personal endeavors. She has her BS in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University (2012) and currently attends Portland State University (PSU). At PSU, her graduate studies are funded by the National Science Foundation and focus on Native American traditional ecological knowledge and the Next Generation Science Standards Crosscutting Concepts of the Nature of Science. These two knowledge bases are aligned conceptually and Ciarra has partnered with three tribal summer camps for her research to evaluate students’ understanding of the TEK-NOS concepts.
Dedicated to improving the lives of future generations, while honoring indigenous cultures, is the legacy Ciarra hopes to leave. With science and culture in her hands, Ciarra contributes to community efforts in Portland, Oregon. Ciarra worked for Wisdom of the Elders, a Native American non-profit organization and was integral in the conception of the Wisdom Workforce Development (WWD) Internship Program and LLC. WWD is a workforce development training program and company providing site assessments and restoration activities with traditional ecological values as a foundation. At Wisdom, Ciarra worked as a Curriculum Developer/Educator focusing on traditional first foods and climate change in the Pacific Northwest. Now Ciarra serves on the Wisdom Board of Directors and broadly continues her engagement in the Portland Parks and Recreation Native American Community Advisory Council.
Ciarra’s passion is in the Northwest and in her home community, yet her engagement reaches nationwide. She has served for two years on the planning committee, as junior faculty, and as a keynote speaker for the Native Youth Community Adaptation Leadership Congress at the National Conservation Training Center for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2016, Ciarra was an inaugural Emerging Leader for the SHIFT Festival, where outdoor recreationists, land managers, and conservationists collaborate to address issues of common concern (public lands, next generation engagement, and cultural relevancy). Most recently she was invited to present at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Washington D.C. on the safe access to traditional/cultural resources and the story of the Portland Native American Community and camas, a staple traditional food of Northwest tribes. Her upcoming plans include an internship with USGS at Glacier National Park focused on huckleberries and climate change.