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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Linking Native American Culture with the Rangeland Resource on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming
by Friday, Colleen, M.S., University of Wyoming, 2019, 93; 13883122
Abstract (Summary)

Our study addressed the need to conduct an in-depth ecological vegetation inventory study of two high elevation basins (Saint Lawrence Basin (SLB) and Paradise Basin (PB)) and connect identified plant species to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe tribes through language and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK). The study was conducted in the Wind River Range and located on the Wind River Indian Reservation (WRIR). Chapter 1 focuses on the ecological vegetation inventory by (1) reconciling a dated (55-year-old) plant list, and (2) ecologically quantifying plant communities using species abundance data coupled with topographic features and soils variables. We established 106 monitoring sites, collected topographic data, soils data, and identified a total of 224 vascular plant species. We used multivariate unconstrained ordination to typify plant communities and constrained ordination to relate botanical composition to topography and soils variable per basin to understand the complex vegetation and environmental relationships. In SLB, 215 plant species and 5 distinct plant communities were identified and in PB, 89 plant species and 4 distinct plant communities were identified. Three invasive species and seven other non-native species were documented. One rare endemic plant species was also documented. Chapter 2 emphasizes connecting tribal culture to the identified plant species through Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK), and the Shoshone and Arapaho languages and plant uses. The intent of the ethnobotanical work was to qualitatively understand these plant resources by looking at meanings through the lens of Indigenous language and perspectives. Existing names of the basin plants in both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho languages were compiled through an ethnobotanical literature review, 7 in-person interviews of Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribal members and attendance at Arapaho Language workshops. We documented 54 Eastern Shoshone and 44 Northern Arapaho plant names from all major plant functional group types. Recognizing the value of ethnobotanical IEK and incorporating it into natural resource management plans and decisions can offer a meaningful collaboration between diverse perspectives associated with IEK. The quantitative inventory data of plant species, plant communities, and ecological drivers documented in this study will assist federal range staff and tribal land managers to more effectively monitor vegetation in these high-elevation basins in the future.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Scasta, John Derek
Commitee: Vaughan, Karen L., Russell, Christopher Caskey
School: University of Wyoming
Department: Ecosystem Science and Management
School Location: United States -- Wyoming
Source: MAI 81/2(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Range management, Natural Resource Management, Native American studies
Keywords: Climate change, Ethonobotany, High-elevation basin, Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Multivatiate analyysis, Plant inventory
Publication Number: 13883122
ISBN: 9781085603485
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