Irene Vasquez is a master of Natural Resources’ Science candidate at Humboldt State University (HSU) and is conducting research using interdisciplinary methods and traditional ecological knowledge to restore tule (Schoenoplectus sp.) for basketry. Recently she completed an internship with the Intertribal Agricultural Council (IAC) and presented at the 2018 Sustainable Agricultural Education Conference. Her dedication to the land stems from being raised in her Southern Sierra Miwok and Paiute culture from Yosemite National Park, CA. Raised with knowledge of traditional practices and the importance of basketry and indigenous foods, she is working to restore plants for eco-cultural use. Baskets can metaphorically be described as nests as they hold cultural customs and knowledge important for future generations. She has worked in ecological restoration and conservation efforts as an employee of the National Park Service in Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks. Her goal is to help re-establishing reciprocal care-taking relationships and ceremonies between indigenous people and their homelands by broadening restoration goals to incorporate local and indigenous people to improve social and ecological health and knowledge of American Indian people and native ecosystems. Irene was the first of her family to graduate from a university. During her undergraduate career at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), she helped lead a protest against the non-hiring of a Native American student director and studied abroad for a year in Aotearoa (New Zealand) sharing a cultural exchange. She has traveled and lived in different parts of the world learning, advocating and educating about indigenous cultures and issues.
Fellow at a Glance
Humboldt State University