Applying Learning Knowledge: This scenario (and the other scenarios in the guide) provide a hypothetical research project using fictional communities, institutions, grant initiatives and programs.

With the content of the guide in mind, some of these projects missed the mark in establishing a reciprocal partnership. Please review each scenario and reflect on how these projects can be more centered on community reciprocity through input, consent and participation.

Scenario 4: Dune Grass Preservation Initiative

For the last 10 years, the Dune Grass Preservation Initiative (DGPI) has been operating on the River Pine reservation. DGPI is a collaboration between Golden Meadow University and the River Pine Tribe. The need for the project is a result of off-reservation recreational activities impacting sand dune health near the reservation.

Beach grass illustration artwork by Dr. Elizabeth LaPensée.
Artwork by Dr. Elizabeth LaPensée.

Recreational activities, including, hiking, the use of quads, horseback riding and other sporting activities erodes the sand dunes, and uproots dune grasses that protect dunes from wind damage. The grasses are critical in protecting the structural integrity of the sand dunes, and also serve as a nesting area for swallows. Dunegrasses are also culturally significant for the River Pine community. Each year, River Pine harvests and dries the grasses for basket weaving.

Through multiple grants, representatives from Golden Meadow University and the River Pine Natural Resources Department have collected data to understand the changing landscape, and ways to promote dune grass health. Project PIs and the Department used data to co-develop a series of projections about future grass health based on various climate scenarios. The Department is requesting additional funding from the River Pine tribal council to expand DGPI efforts.

Since the most recent grant is ending, the Council requested that the Department present the project findings at a public tribal council meeting. Leading up to the tribal council meeting, the Department asked the PI and Co-PIs to develop a presentation for the broader River Pine community. Although this request was not part of the original grant deliverables, the PI sees this request as an important part of fostering a reciprocal partnership with River Pine.

Reflection Questions

Please review and reflect on the following questions according to the information presented in Scenario 4.

  • Imagining yourself as the PI, how might you help the department with preparing for the council meeting?
  • What are some deliverables you think might be helpful in communicating DGPI work to the Council and River Pine citizens?
  • What are some ways you could plan with the Department to ensure DGPI, and the research partnership, continues after the grant ends?