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Harvard Forest Research Project 2022

  • Title: Decolonizing STEM and Stewardship: Indigenous Community Partnerships at Harvard Forest
  • Principal investigator: Clarisse Hart (
  • Institution: Harvard Forest
  • Primary contact: Clarisse Hart (
  • Team members: Danielle Ignace; Meghan MacLean
  • Abstract:

    What does it mean to be a land steward? What do meaningful and respectful collaborations with Indigenous communities look like, especially here at Harvard? For over a century, the Harvard Forest has pursued its mission of research & education on 4,000 acres of unceded Nipmuc homeland. Today we are working to build a long-term organizational relationship with the Nipmuc tribe that ensures that this land and its benefits are mutually accessible, affirming, and sustaining, and remain so for generations to come. This project centers conversation, collaborative research, and policy analysis/outreach by a team of researchers, students, local tribal stakeholders, local conservation organizations, and legal advisors to: 1) better understand and contribute to Nipmuc lifeways and land sovereignty and access at Harvard Forest and more widely in the region; 2) identify and socialize specific actions for universities (including Harvard Forest), conservation organizations, and public agencies to decolonize STEM and conservation practices/policies; and 3) listen to and amplify Indigenous voices throughout this process.