Statement of purpose:
My background is in heritage studies and the management of protected areas, and my current research focuses on climate adaptation planning for archaeological sites. The research team I’m a part of is working with the National Park Service and associated Tribal Nations to develop a tool to help with consultation and stewarding of archaeological sites/traditional use areas within a Park’s boundaries. My interest in heritage site management grew from my love of traveling and interest in the relationship between humans and the environment. Heritage ‘experts’ typically decide what is significant and worth saving, which often excludes local and traditional knowledge, values, and perspectives. Without stakeholder input and meaningful collaboration, overdevelopment and climate change impacts will displace vulnerable communities, cause irreversible damage to important built and natural environments, and ignores people’s connection to place. I’m excited to be able contribute to the integration of cultural and natural resource management, especially as human-driven climate change is quickly destroying places and forcing vulnerable communities to make hard decisions. I hope to strategize ways to deconstruct top-down, Western science approaches and address environmental justice issues through my work.
Description of research:
The research team I’m a part of is creating a tool to help the National Park Service and Native Americans communicate better about shared places, particularly archaeological sites within park boundaries. We are focused on giving recommendations to NPS on ways to have conversations and collaborate with Tribal Nations about the management of archaeological sites threatened by climate change impacts. Our aim is to find avenues for incorporating traditional values into adaptation planning and to expand archaeological site management, as well as fostering the co-production of knowledge so that NPS can live up to its mandate and Tribal Nations can have the access and influence on the stewardship of their ancestral homelands.
An aspect of my research that I really love is talking to people; I’m conducting formal interviews, engaging with NPS and Tribal Citizens, and conducting pilot studies on the ground at National Parks. The more I talk to people, the more I learn about climate change impacts, different perspectives of places and practices, and issues in the stewardship of meaningful places.
Dr. Erin Seekamp (Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, NCSU)