Tribal Water Security Colloquium: Rethinking Our Relationship With Water

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $960

Letter of Intent:

Dear CSF Coordinator:
We are writing to request funding support from the Campus Sustainability Fund for a half-day class colloquium titled Rethinking Our Relationship With Water.  The Colloquium is a class project that aims to create a space to learn directly from those at the forefront of climate change and environmental challenges.  Thus, we are inviting influential speakers to talk about tribal water security (TWS) at UW’s wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ. In our class, we are broadly defining water security as issues pertaining to water quality, quantity, accessibility, and culture.

The Colloquium is schedule on March 8, 2016 in wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ from 12:45-5 pm.  This event will be open to UW campus and the public.  We will also invite tribal citizens from the surrounding area.  Invited speakers will share their perspectives and experiences on topics listed in Table 1.  In addition, students will present posters on a TWS topic.  Here is a draft of our schedule:

Table 1
Time (pm) Speaker Topic
1:00-1:25 Roger Fernandez (Lower Elwha Klallam) Storytelling and Native Teachings
1:30-1:55 Tony Sanchez (Nisqually) Importance of Reclaiming Medicine Springs
2:00-2:25 Micah McCarty (Makah) Ocean Acidification
2:30-2:55 Student Poster Presentations
3:00-3:25 Ed Johnstone (Quinault) Climate Change and Melting Glaciers
3:30-3:55 Terry Williams (Tulalip) Wetlands and Fish Hatchery Protection
4:00-4:25   Break
4:30-5:00 Bonnie Duran (Opelousas/Coushatta) CBPR and Environmental Research

Student Leadership & Involvement:  Undergraduate students in this class are integral to the planning of the Colloquium.  Table 2 shows the areas where student leadership was key.  For example, students have settled on a date, time range and general format.  In addition, students have selected speakers to invite and emailed out formal invitations.  During the colloquium, students will introduce speakers and present them with a gift, as well as communicate a topic they feel is interesting and/or important to water security.  Globally and nationally, TWS issues have not received the attention that is required to ensure safe water for all tribal members in the United States.  In this class, we aim to lead conversations that bring awareness to these issues and to provide an opportunity for our audiences to hear the voices of tribal leaders. 

Here is a timeline that shows the events and tasks we are carrying out.  The asterisks indicate specific “Leadership Responsibilities and Involvement” for each event and task. The class carried out tasks as a class, individual or by the instructor.

Table 2. Timeline
Month Events and Tasks
January Pick date *
Reserve venue ***
Find sponsorship *
Determine goals/objectives ***
Pick Speakers *
February Send invitations to Speakers **
Decide on title *
Brainstorm language for letter of intent*
Check on venue reservations ***
Finalize schedule/send information about location*
Pick a topic for poster presentations **
Create/distribute flyers *
Print materials ***
Solidify sponsorship *
  • AIS Department
  • Campus Sustainability Fund
  • 8th Generation
March Create menu *
March 8th Host Colloquium *
  • Set up food
  • Students introduce speakers
  • Student poster presentations
Send thank you notes *
Leadership and Involvement
* Class decision
** Carried out by individual student
*** Carried out by Instructor

Environmental Impact: The UW is known for their environmentally friendly goals.  Our project will add another dimension to these goals by highlighting water security challenges faced by tribes in the Pacific Northwest.  Our invited speakers are not scientists or academics, but are individuals who directly see and feel the impacts of these water issues and fight to project their families and communities.  As environmental stewards, they will share a different lens on these topics.  Furthermore, native communities are at the forefront of these dramatic changes and have solutions and experiences that can be a source of inspiration to people on UW campus and in the community. 

Education, Outreach, & Behavior Change: One of the goals of this event is to raise awareness among the campus community.  Through this event, we can reach a larger audience and introduce them to water issues and solutions that can help address the water insecurity challenges expressed by Native leaders.  Additionally, as a class, we are an interdisciplinary group of students who are enrolled in the sciences, humanities and social sciences, and have picked speakers who are most appealing to our majors.  Therefore, our colloquium is an interdisciplinary collaboration across campus and with the Native community.  Lastly, this exchange of knowledge will allow us to learn directly from the source instead of only from books, papers and journals. Rarely do students have the time or opportunity for this to happen, so we are excited to be part of this event.

Feasibility, Accountability, & Sustainability: Students in this class last year successfully carried out a Colloquium on Fish Consumption Standards in Washington State.  It was well attended and educational.  The schedule can be viewed here:

The funds we are requesting are for use from February – March 2016, therefore we are not including plans for subsequent years.  Our instructor has provided students with the guidance to ensure the completion, and success of this event.  In addition, we will keep track of all expenses with the help of the American Indian Studies Administrator, Marcia A Feinstein-Tobey.   

Budget request from CSF = $960.  Funds will be used to cover the following cost:

Table 3. 
Item Sponsor Cost
Food and beverages AIS $150
1 Speaker honorarium* AIS $100
5 Speaker honorarium CSF $500
6 Speaker gifts CSF $122
  8TH GEN $34
Rental space CSF $200
Promotional materials CSF $138
TOTAL   $1,244
CSF TOTAL   $960
* Each honorarium will help to cover travel expenses and compensation for our speakers

We will also request sponsorship from the American Indian Studies Department to help cover food.  In addition, we have secured sponsorship from 8th Generation, a local Native company. 
We appreciate the opportunity to submit our Letter of Intent for your review. Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments. Thank you very much for your time and consideration, we look forward to hearing from you.

Lael Agee, Darby Bowen, Andres Coca, Supreet Ghumman, Teela Sablan, Alexander Sanjeev and Clarita Lefthand-Begay

Clarita Lefthand-Begay, PHD


Primary Contact First & Last Name: Clarita Lefthand-Begay