Jennifer Santry EDUCATION • M.A. in Nonprofit Management Regis University • B.S. in Zoology University of Oklahoma
ENROLLED • Cohort 4
LOCATION • Santa Fe, N.M.
Jennifer Santry attributes her connection with food and the land to her Lakota and Choctaw heritage. She is an enrolled citizen of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and she is Sicangu Lakota, Mdewakanton Dakota, and Yankton Dakota. Nature connectedness has had a profound impact on her life including pursuing a B.S. in zoology and traveling to Panama, Thailand, and Equatorial Guinea to study primates as a college student. These incredible experiences fueled her love of nature leading her to teach environmental and outdoor science programs to youth. After completing a master’s degree in nonprofit management, she spent over 10 years working in the nonprofit sector managing waste reduction and sustainable food programs including student-run farms, community gardens, and composting and recycling programs in local schools. In 2012, she found her calling in higher education as a sustainable agriculture instructor. Her teaching interests include climate change education, Indigenous food sovereignty, and decolonizing permaculture and regenerative agriculture. Currently, Jen is an online instructor for the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Certificate program at Peninsula College in Washington and UMASS Amherst’s Sustainable Food and Farming Bachelor program. In addition to teaching, Jen is the Indigenous Education Liaison for the Santa Fe-based nonprofit Climate Advocates Voces Unidas (CAVU) where she is collaborating with Northern New Mexico Pueblo communities in addressing climate change through Native youth engagement in storytelling and video production. Jen’s dissertation study is a celebration of the interconnectedness between Native identity and the land, using a strengths-based approach to praising the knowledge and accomplishments of the Lakota people. Through Lakota stories, relationships, and reflections on food, she is addressing the need for cultural preservation and Indigenous land-based knowledge in sustainable agriculture education. This collaborative research is also a spiritual journey, as a granddaughter reconnecting to her relatives, learning traditional knowledge and practices, and finding Native identity and belonging within the Lakota community. Her ultimate goal is to create story maps of Lakota food systems, culture, and history to help launch the Oceti Ŝakowiŋ Cultural Repository benefitting Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota communities.
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