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2001 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award

Honoree: Dennis Martinez

Dennis Martinez
Dennis Martinez (Photo by Judith Vergun) Download a hi-res image: right-click here and select Save As (4.6mb TIF)

"There is no Indian word for wilderness because there was no wilderness."
—Dennis Martinez (Sierra)

"Conserving our options means, in part, conserving the diversity of ways of thinking about problems."
—Jessie Ford and Dennis Martinez (Ecological Applications)

Dennis Martinez is honored as a finalist for the 2001 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award in Conservation for his work over the past thirty-two years on indigenous community based ecological and cultural restoration, and for his endeavors in building bridges between Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Western Ecological Science (WES). He is an internationally active speaker and writer. He has worked throughout North America and Hawaii on indigenous land and culture issues.

Dennis is co-director (with Agnes Pilgrim of Siletz Confederated Tribes) of the Takelma Intertribal Project in southern Oregon. Agnes and Dennis brought back the Salmon Thanksgiving Ceremony in 1994 after an absence of 150 years and seek to restore thousands of acres of the Takelma / Da-du-be-de-te cultural landscape (oak savanna). He is currently working as a restoration consultant to the Nor-Rel-Muk Band of Wintu Indians, and works with many other cultural groups including Mt. Maidu, Kashaya Pomo, and Native Hawaiians (Kaho'olawe).

Dennis is a past board member of the International Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) and a past chair of SER's Science and Policy Working Group. He is currently chair of SER's Indigenous Peoples' Restoration Network. Dennis co-edited, with Jessie Ford of Oregon State University, the October 2000 issue of Ecological Applications (Ecological Society of America), which features international TEK/cultural and land restoration.

Dennis serves as an advisor to the Pacific Traditional Ecological Knowledge program at Oregon State University. He has served on the national Traditional Knowledge council (chaired by Vine Deloria, Jr.) of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

Dennis also works on the ground restoring forest ecosystems including prescription fire, thinning, seeding, growing native plants, prairie and savanna, and aquatic habitat (successfully restoring coho salmon and steelhead runs) in Oregon and California. In its developmental phase he worked with the nursery Ya-Ka-Ama at Sonoma County, CA. Dennis is a member of the National Network of Forest Practitioners and the Alliance of Forest Workers and Harvesters, focusing on multi-cultural restoration training workshops.

In 1997, Dennis won the John Rieger Service Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration for substantial contributions to the field of ecological restoration, and was awarded one of three prestigious national 2001 Bioneer awards. Dennis is of O'odham / Anglo / Chicano heritage and lives nears Douglas City, Trinity County, California.


2001 Honorees

Phillip Cash Cash

Susan Burdick

David Hatch

Dennis Martinez

Hilistis Pauline Waterfall

Excerpts from celebration speeches


Learn More

About Dennis Martinez:

Indigenous Peoples' Restoration Network
(a working group of the Society for Ecological Restoration International)

Land grab on a global scale
Seattle-Post Intelligencer, April 1, 2008

Native Perspectives on Sustainability
Interview with Dennis Martinez for dissertation by David Hall, Ph.D.


Astrid Scholz
tel: 503.467.0758
Download vCard

Jason Pretty Boy
Indigenous Resilience Fellow
tel: 503.467.0803


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