I am a second year master’s student at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, specializing in environmental justice around Indigenous rights and leadership. This will be my second year learning NCN, Barkley Sound dialect (Tseshaht) as a FLAS fellow. As part of my capstone project, Communicating Tribal Rights and Forwarding Environmental Justice with Local Coast Salish People, we are building collaboratively created narratives with high school students at Chief Leschi School (Puyallup) that highlight issues important to the community. This project aims to use digital storytelling to showcase stories of Indigenous-led restoration efforts in the Salish Sea, sew strategies on how to recontextualize indigeneity in education (esp. environmental), and create rich content on the Fish Wars and subsequent Boldt Decision with living witnesses who can memorialize that monumental history. In particular, I am working on a digital story that centers resistance to the Transmountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX), a project that will triple the amount of tar sand oil transported to the BC coast. Aside from a host of local and global environmental threats, the pipeline has had strong opposition from First Nations who do not consent to the construction on their unceded territory and who are defending their rights to clean water and air with access to traditional foods. The story has heavy focus on Indigenous-led resistance, cross-border coalition building, and allyship. As part of a graduate class this spring with Professor Clarita Lefthand-Begay, I was a contributing author to a White House paper on considerations for incorporating Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge into Federal decision-making. This past summer, I also interned with Global Ocean Health as a media and storytelling intern for their initiative on Building Tribal Leadership in Carbon Dioxide Removal, a restorative climate strategy that will require the brain trust of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives to achieve climate stability for future generations.
Jessica’s background includes over a decade working abroad as a photographer and photojournalist (jessicamrose.com), including documentary filmmaking and blog writing. She spent five years living in various parts of Thailand learning the language, studying local culture/ religion, and using photography to explore the life and traditions of Indigenous peoples adjusting to globalization. Her passion for the ocean eventually took her to the island of Cozumel, Mexico where she worked as an underwater photographer and divemaster on the second largest coral reef in the world. Seeing degradation and destruction spread across the Mesoamerican reef, Jessica got involved in coral restoration with local biologists and helped organize the first March for the Ocean as part of her involvement with a team representing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She received her BA in 19th Century Photo Processing from Arizona State in 2007. Jessica is originally from the deserts of Arizona and loves canyoneering through the SW slots and dancing under summer monsoon rains.