Melissa K. Nelson

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Biographical Information

"Melissa K. Nelson is a cultural ecologist, writer, media-maker and indigenous scholar-activist. She is an associate professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University and executive director of the Cultural Conservancy, an indigenous rights organization, which she has directed since 1993. Her work is dedicated to indigenous revitalization, environmental restoration, intercultural understanding, and the renewal and celebration of community health and cultural arts. She received her B.A. degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, both in the field of Ecology with an emphasis in Native American Studies.

"Melissa publishes essays in academic and popular journals and books. Her first edited anthology, Original Instructions – Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future (2008), focuses on the persistence of traditional ecological knowledge by contemporary Native communities. In 2005 Melissa was the co-producer of the award-winning documentary film, The Salt Song Trail: Bringing Creation Back Together. She also serves on the board of directors of the Collective Heritage Institute/Bioneers and is an advisory board member of the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies. In 2010–2011 she is the Anne Ray Resident Scholar at the School for Advanced Research in Sante Fe, where she is writing a book about cultural revitalization and the Salt Song Trail Project. Melissa is Anishinaabe/Métis/Norwegian and an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. "[1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Center for Whole Communities Board, organizational web page, accessed April 20, 2012.
  2. Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus International Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed December 21, 2013.