What We Do

The Indigenous Resilience Center (IRes) works on the areas of food, water, and energy with tribes. IRes identifies and looks for resources to support co-designing solutions with Indigenous communities. Please check out our Community Impact Award call for proposals in the areas of Partnership Building, Research, and Teaching. The projects below are examples of our work:

Man crouched next to a stream with a bucket

Center for Native Environmental Health Equity Research

Native EH Equity Center - The overarching mission of the Center is to promote resilience through reducing the effects of environmental exposure disparities on the health of Native American Communities. The work of this Center is a partnership with Indigenous communities in southwest (Navajo Nation) and upper Great plants (Crow Nation and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe). Native EH Equity Center - Dr. Hoover is a Center co-director and co leads a geospatial research project and the community engagement and dissemination core.

A man securing a cow for examination

Cove (Navajo Nation) Livestock Project

The goals of this community led study are to 1) use geospatial technology to determine the frequency and duration of livestock grazing in proximity to abandoned mines and waste in a community on the Navajo Nation; 2) identify the environmental and land cover factors that are associated with livestock grazing patterns; and 3) determine associations between metal accumulation in animal tissue and grazing and environmental factors. Dr. Hoover's role includes leading community engagement efforts, spatial data analysis and storage, and coordinating research efforts of academic partners. This project is a partnership with Dine College, Northern Arizona University, and two Navajo chapters.

Diagram showing the process of creating and controlling wastewater for use with agriculture

Decision support for agricultural reuse of municipal wastewater effluent On Navajo Nation

Use of reclaimed wastewater for food production in Navajo communities. Methods: (i) effluent sampling and conventional analysis at wastewater treatment plants across the Navajo Nation, (ii) determination of effluent microbiological quality via cell culturing and PCR/RT-PCR, (iii) screening for trace organic contaminants in effluents using LCMS/MS, (iv) field demonstrations in communities (chapters) of the Navajo Nation where irrigation using reclaimed wastewater is under consideration, (v) community outreach and (vi) STEM education in water and agriculture.

Street art depicting a person with a face mask with a quote "Beware of Covid"

Investigating linkages between arsenic exposure, diabetes, and COVID-19 infections and risks on the Navajo Nation

AIM 1: Identify environmental and individual risk factors for COVID-19 infection and death

AIM 2: Identify Chapter-specific environmental health education mechanisms, messaging and interventions to mitigate risk factors for COVID-19

AIM 3: Develop, implement, and determine effectiveness of culturally appropriate environmental health messaging to prevent COVID-19 infection and death

A compilation of headshots

Jurisdiction Back: Infrastructure beyond Extractivism

The team will work in dynamic clusters across various bio-regions to implement experimental demonstration projects that generate new knowledge and insights about when, how and under what conditions the restoration of Indigenous jurisdiction through infrastructure succeeds.

Researchers posing next to equipment for a group photo

Navajo COVID-19 Water Needs Mapping

Led by Dr. Karletta Chief with partners at Montana State University-Billings, Northern Arizona University, University of New Mexico, and Southwest Research and Information Center, this project maps water needs across the Navajo Nation and provides data to the Nation with respect for data sovereignty. 

Two researchers configuring a filtration unit

Off-grid Nano-Solar Water Purification Units

Led by Dr. Vicky Karanikola along with Drs.  Robert Arnold, Karletta Chief, Kim Ogden, and Kelly Simmons-Potter. This project brings solar nano-filtration units to off-grid homes that transform-- through low cost and energy units – no-potable water into potable water.  The project also trains tribal members in the use and maintenance of the units and designs units tailored to local needs.