University of Montana

Executive Summary

Impacts of Climate Change and Changes in Socio-Economic Structure on Traditional Agriculture and the Development of Sustainable Communities among Indigenous Populations

Partnering with Kumaun University (KU) in Uttarakhand, India, The University of Montana (UM) project provides opportunities for graduate students, faculty, and administrators from both universities to engage in research and cultural exchange activities.

Like UM, KU is research-based and supports graduate studies. Moreover, KU is recognized for interdisciplinary research focused specifically on mountain environments. Given its location in the Indian Himalaya, KU closely interacts with Indigenous communities through active research agendas. Ongoing research is focused on mountain-society interactions, biodiversity, sustainable socio-economic development, climate change studies, and Indigenous perspectives.

UMs Native American Research Laboratory (NARL) will play a key role in the OSI project. NARL focuses on the fields of environmental science, and particularly research projects based on the needs of tribal and Indigenous communities. Because this partnership will tie research projects directly to the socio-economic, development, and climate change-related priorities of Indigenous communities, both Native American and Indian scientists and their graduate students will benefit. NARL weekly meetings provide opportunities for UM Native American graduate students to present their research to one another and build a cohort of support and encouragement, and this rich cohort experience will be extended to and shared with KU graduate students.

The primary outcomes from this OSI project are to:

  • Strengthen research ties between US and Indian academic institutions on issues of global importance; and,

  • Provide an opportunity to increase the number of students from historically underserved communities pursuing advanced degrees in the STEM fields.