Extension faculty in D.C. to teach course on Indian lands
’People of the Land’ curriculum helps agriculture professionals work more effectively with tribes
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension faculty Staci Emm and Loretta Singletary are teaching their "People of the Land" course to a variety of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Program Leaders in Washington, D.C., this week.
The program examines the historical, social and economic attributes of Indian reservations within a four-state region of the West. It is designed to increase the capacity of agricultural and natural resource professionals to work as effectively as possible with Indian farmers and ranchers.
The original People of the Land curriculum focused on issues on the 10 largest reservations in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. But Emm, the Extension Educator for Mineral County, and Singletary, the Area Director for Extension’s Central/Northeast Area, are expanding their research to include reservations in the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
This week’s seminar reached some of the national program leaders and specialists who seek to improve outreach programs to American Indians.
"The course was held over two days to reach an audience of approximately 35 participants," Emm said.
These NIFA leaders expressed interest in People of the Land for some time, but hadn’t been able to make it to a one of our courses en masse, Emm said. Thanks to grants from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE), under the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Emm and Singletary were able to travel back East to teach the course.
"It’s a great opportunity, so we’re very excited about it," Emm said. "Teaching this course in D.C. gives us the opportunity to meet with USDA officials and national research and extension program leaders to give them a view of the cultural, political and economic issues on Indian reservations in this four-state area." One of the outcomes of Emm and Singletary’s visit to D.C. this week is the request by USDA and NIFA program leaders to feature People of the Land as an online professional development course, making it accessible to 135,000 USDA employees.