Jess portrait_final.jpg

About

Click here to download my full CV.

Hello! I am an environmental anthropologist and ethnobotanist with a specialty in Native American and Indigenous studies. Since 2008, I have implemented community-based, engaged, and Indigenous methodologies to research and employment with Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) communities in the northeast region of the United States and Canada. I successfully completed my PhD in August of 2016. 

My doctoral dissertation is called The Restorative Ecology of Peace: Haudenosaunee Environmental Knowledge and Philosophies of Stewardship. It is based upon work, research, and learning over the course of five years (2010 - 2015), in the Iroquois/ Haudenosaunee communities of Six Nations of the Grand River, Akwesasne, Kahnawà:ke, and Onondaga Nation. In my research, I draw from ethnobiology and environmental anthropology, and follow Indigenous methodologies, the International Society of Ethnobiology code of ethics, and the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force (HETF) protocol for environmental research, to do research on traditional, historical, and cultural relationships with land. My dissertation explores how political, kinship, sacred, oral historical, epistemological, ontological, and geographic components of Iroquois cultures create a foundation for, and shape, Haudenosaunee environmental knowledge. It synthesizes those elements of environmental knowledge that are commonly held among the Six Nations to demonstrate the depth and distinction of HEK as a living, dynamic system of knowledge. It shows how HEK is a philosophy rooted in place, implemented as a means of resilience of community and environmental health. The genius of Haudenosaunee traditional knowledge has enabled them to survive as Indigenous people. My doctoral work advocates for the importance of HEK in particular, and cultural regeneration and self-determination of Indigenous and marginalized communities in general, to global environmental sustainability, stewardship, social and environmental justice.

I was raised in the small town of Brattleboro, Vermont. I'm an international Vermonter who values of local food, learning by doing, gardening, the arts, integrity, kindness, and spending plenty of time outdoors on the land with rivers, forests, mountains and meadows. I am also a mom to one beautiful daughter! I like collecting wild edibles, cooking, weaving baskets, seeing live music, attending artistic and cultural events, and hanging out in farmer's and open-air food markets. I've lived on four different continents, spending most of the last 20 years in Montréal, Six Nations of the Grand River, Boston, and New York. In this website, you will see how the variety of my life interests combine into common themes. My professional life is dedicated to meaningful research, community-based projects, and teaching that supports cross-cultural education, environmental education, and social and environmental justice.