Nicholas Reo, assistant professor of Native American studies and environmental studies, studies the way natural resources are used on Native lands and how climate change is affecting reservations. An enrolled member of the Sault St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Reo earned his PhD at Michigan State University.
In this interview, Reo discusses how he got a start in these disciplines and how they are rapidly changing.
This Dartmouth Now series features four of the scholars who have joined Dartmouth’s Arts & Sciences faculty during the 2012-2013 academic year. The week’s headlines include:
Monday: Class of 2012-2013: Meet Dartmouth’s New Faculty
Tuesday: Meet Dartmouth’s New Faculty (Part 2): Emily Walton
Wednesday: Meet Dartmouth’s New Faculty (Part 3): Sean Kang
Thursday: Meet Dartmouth’s New Faculty (Part 4): Sara Muñoz
Friday: Meet Dartmouth’s New Faculty (Part 5): Nicholas Reo
Starting Out: I was originally drawn to working on natural-resource issues because of my love of the outdoors. I was looking for a career that allowed me to get paid for spending time in the woods or on the water. Because I am Ojibwe (also known as Chippewa), and because North American Indian tribes and first nations are grappling with many important natural resource and land use issues, it was a natural fit for me to work on natural resource issues in Indian Country.
Giving Back: I am motivated by many things. I have a diverse set of interests, but they all relate to American Indian tribes, land and natural resources. I am particularly motivated to be a positive influence on students who will go on to do good work in their professional and personal lives. I want to help prepare American Indian students for their future careers in and out of Indian Country.
I also want to help non-Indian students to become thoughtful, competent tribal employees or tribal partners. We often see conflict between tribes and their neighbors over natural resource issues, and I think I can help mitigate these conflicts by having a positive impact on the students who take my classes or participate in research in my lab.
Looking Ahead: Historically, interdisciplinary scholarship was something you learned to do only after making a name for yourself in your discipline. There is a group of young scholars coming into the Academy now who were trained as interdisciplinary scholars. I consider myself part of this group. We are highly collaborative and able to take unique approaches to identifying problems and seeking solutions.]