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Superfund Research Program

Integrating Superfund-Related Science and Native Cultural Traditions

Project Leader: Keith Pezzoli
Grant Number: P42ES010337
Funding Period: 2005-2023

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Project Summary (2005-2010)

The Community Outreach Core is an environmental justice project involving the communication and sharing of SBRP-generated knowledge and tools with Tribal communities affected by hazardous waste sites and toxicants. The Outreach Core uses a Tribal Regional Workbench approach to enable equitable environmental stewardship of Indian Reservations. The broad objective is to shift the emphasis from risk assessment as a disease paradigm to risk assessment as a wellness paradigm that embraces Tribal Traditional Lifeways. This new approach is identified as a high priority by the U.S. EPA's National Tribal Science Council, the National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC), and Tribal environmental protection agencies. Core researchers collaborate directly with Tribal communities both locally (the Campo Indian Reservation, part of the Kumeyaay Nation,  the Tribal environmental lab located at the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians) and nationally (the Superfund Project Group of NTEC).

These communities include prominent Tribal scientists who help the researchers create a unique Tribal information system that is called the Tribal Regional Workbench (modeled after the UC San Diego's SBRP Regional Workbench). The Tribal-RWB is being developed as a forum and an ensemble of datasets and information and knowledge integration tools to support online analysis, visualization and communication of environmental justice and quality of life issues explored within the Core's collaborative projects. The Community Outreach Core has five objectives, grouped into two broad categories:

  1. Communication and Environmental Justice, and
  2. Knowledge Systems Integration.

Specific objectives include:

  1. (a) to build a Tribal Regional Workbench Website; (b) to share SBRP-generated knowledge and tools;
  2. (a) to host a regional gathering of tribal leaders and scientists; (b) to facilitate training opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students; and (c) to co-author a series of papers, articles, and other publications with Tribal partners.
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