Tribal Climate Strategies Research Scholar
Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center
Dr. Marie Schaefer is a transdisciplinary scientist whose work focuses on how collaborations between Indigenous knowledges and scientific knowledges can contribute to sustainable futures. She has over a decade of experience working with Tribal nations across the U.S. on a wide range of climate change research projects and is of Anishinaabe (Odawa) and European settler descent. As the Tribal Climate Strategies Research Scholar, Marie develops and conducts climate change research with Tribal nations across the Southeast CASC regions. Marie is a founding member and now Advisory Council member of the Northeast Indigenous Climate Resilience Network, which convenes Indigenous nations and partners to engage in climate adaptation planning and action.
Marie received a Ph.D. in Community Sustainability from Michigan State University (MSU) and a Master of Arts in Applied Cultural Anthropology Northern Arizona University where she worked for the Hopi Tribe’s Hopi Cultural Preservation Office. Marie’s Ph.D. research used an Indigenous community-based participatory approach to explore the impacts of settler colonialism on manoomin (wild rice) food systems. This research included examining how shifts in gender roles around manoomin are impacting a group of Indigenous women today and how those women created a regenerative space to mitigate those changes. During her Ph.D., Marie worked as a Research Assistant at the Sustainable Development Institute at the College of Menominee Nation where she was responsible for coordinating and conducting research the Institute conducted related to climate change. This included conducting climate change scenario planning workshops with Tribal nations across the Northeast CASC twenty-two state region and assisting with Tribal outreach for the Fourth National Climate Assessment.
Marie comes to the SE CASC from a position as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Community Sustainability at MSU on the MICARES (Michigan Community Anishinaabe Renewable Energy Sovereignty) project. The project worked with nine Michigan communities, including three Tribal nations, to explore the opportunities and create tools to overcome barriers to renewable energy in their community or nation.
- Understanding Socio-Technological Systems Change through an Indigenous Community-Based Participatory Framework, (2021). Schaefer, M., Schmitt Olabisi, L., Arola, K. Poitra, C., Schelly, C., Matz, E., Seigel, M., Adesanya, A., and Bessette, D. Sustainability Special Issue: Emerging Research on Socio-Technological Sustainability. Sustainability. 13 (4).
- Cultural Imaginaries or Incommensurable Ontologies? Relationality and sovereignty as worldviews in socio-technological system transitions, (2021). Schelly, C., Gagnon, V., Arola, K., Fiss, A., Schaefer, M., and Halvorsen, K. Energy Research and Social Science. 80.
- Perspectives of Scholars on the Nature of Sustainability: A Survey Study, (2019). Aminpour, P., Grey, S., Richardson, R., Singer, A., Castro, L., Schaefer, M., Ramlan, M.A., Chikowore, N.R. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. 21(1).
- Indigenous Insights about Sustainability: Are they only about what works for “all humanity”? (2018) Whyte, K.P., Caldwell, C., and Schaefer, M. In Situating Sustainability: Approaches to Environmental Justice and Social Power. Edited by Julie Sze, 149-179. NYU Press.