Selected to give the 2016 Daffodil Lecture on Sustainability and the Environment, Amherst College Associate Professor Lisa Brooks will present “Imagining an Indigenous Future: Adaptation, Decolonization and Sustainability in the Wake of Climate Change” on Monday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. This event is free and open to the public. The talk invites attendees to review maps, stories and pressing questions inspired by Indigenous students in the Connecticut River Valley who are, Brooks says, "reframing Indigenous fiction and poetry as speculative fiction that imagines an Indigenous future."
Brooks draws on new research to challenge the notion that colonization has long been accomplished and Native people exist only in the past. She uses maps of the region to consider how this concept of the past influences collective imagination of the present and future. "What does it mean to imagine an American future that does not include Indigenous peoples? Can sustainability be achieved without decolonization?" she asks.
Brooks teaches early American literature, Native American studies, and comparative American studies at Amherst College. She chairs the Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Program. Deeply rooted in her Abenaki homeland, Brooks serves on the advisory board of Gedakina, a non-profit organization focused on Indigenous cultural revitalization, educational outreach, and community wellness in New England. Her book, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast received the Media Ecology Association's Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture.
The Daffodil Lecture on Sustainability and the Environment is sponsored by Commonwealth Honors College and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. The theme of the lecture reflects UMass Amherst’s leadership in green research and sustainability, including the development of biofuels and wind energy. The campus has earned recognition for its energy efficiency and green practices, including a 2015 rating as one of The Princeton Review's top 50 most environmentally responsible colleges.