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Deniss Martinez

Deniss Martinez is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis. The purpose of her dissertation is to find strategies for California Native communities and their collaborators to create governance and collaborative mechanisms that support Tribal self-determination and governance. Using qualitative methods and community-based research Deniss’ work centers the stories and narratives of cultural fire practitioners in California. Her vision is to work on creating a future that centers the wisdom of Indigenous people, not just as marginally relevant but as central to environmental decision making. She believes that just as people are an essential part of the environment; decolonization, reparations, and justice are essential to a just climate future. She aims to continue work that informs both settler governments and tribal governments on best strategies towards solving the climate crisis in a way that uplifts Tribal sovereignty, ensures justice for communities of color, and builds governance, culture and decision-making based on values of reciprocity, responsibility, and seven generation thinking.