Irene Vasquez is a member of the Southern Sierra Miwuk, a non-federally recognized tribe from Yosemite National Park, CA. She is a master of Natural Resources candidate at Humboldt State University (HSU) and is conducting research using interdisciplinary methods and traditional ecological knowledge to compare the restoration of tule (Schoenoplectus sp.) for cultural use and abundance. Her dedication to the land stems from basketry because baskets are like nests; they hold cultural customs and knowledge important for future generations. She has been involved in ecological restoration and conservation efforts as an employee of the National Park Service in Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks. She is working towards re-establishing reciprocal relationships and ceremonies between indigenous people and their homelands by broadening restoration goals to incorporate local and indigenous people to improve 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