Indigenous Food, Energy, & Water Security and Sovereignty

About Indige-FEWSS

This NSF Research Traineeship at the University of Arizona ran from 2017 to 2023 with the aim to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers to work with and within Indigenous communities to address food-energy-water challenges.

In partnership with Diné College, the oldest Tribal College & University in the country, the Indigenous Food, Energy & Water Security and Sovereignty program also brought FEWS training to Native American undergraduates and technicians on the Navajo Nation. Learn more about the Diné College Land Grant Office.

The training, research and outreach of IndigeFEWSS are continuing via the Indigenous Resilience Center

The Indige-FEWSS program was supported by grant award #DGE1735713 from the National Science Foundation. Principle Investigator, Dr. Karletta Chief.  


To develop a diverse workforce with intercultural awareness and Food-Energy-Water Security (FEWS) expertise to address FEWS challenges with and within Indigenous communities.


Worldwide, ~370 million Indigenous peoples live in over 90 countries. Indigenous peoples are only approximately 5% of the world population, yet they represent 90% of cultural diversity and hold 20% of the land that maintains 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. However, Indigenous peoples often lack access to energy, water, and food infrastructure.

  • 14% of U.S. Native American households lack access to electricity.
  • On the Navajo Nation, our partner for this graduate student training experience, approximately 35% of dwellings are not connected to central power or potable water.


Developing technical solutions to these challenges requires an understanding of Indigenous societies, governance, and culture and the ability to work effectively and respectfully within these contexts.

This NSF National Research Traineeship program prepares the next generation of FOOD-ENERGY-WATER systems professionals to tackle these challenges in partnership with Indigenous Communities. The traineeship period is over; however, interested students can get involved with tribal research and outreach via the Indigenous Resilience Center

The Stories of Indige-FEWSS

Want to learn more about what Indige-FEWSS accomplished during the NSF-NRT award tenure? Check out our 2020 Newsletter!


Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies logo

Indige-FEWSS is a program within the Arizona Institutes for Resilience (AIR) at the University of Arizona. AIR coordinates interdisciplinary programs and groups of faculty, students, and projects across the UArizona campus to develop practical, applied solutions that further resilience in our natural and human communities.