Headshot of an Indigenous woman with long, wavy brown hair wearing large pear-shaped turquoise earrings and a black and turquoise tshirt

Melinda Adams

Fall 2023
Geography and Atmospheric Science

Melinda Adams is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science and the Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Kansas. Her research, which privileges Indigenous ways of knowing and being, cuts across the fields of pyrogeography and ecology/environmental science. In collaboration with Tribal Nations in California, Adams worked to revitalize cultural burns, small-area prescribed fires conducting using Traditional Ecological Knowledge, as a tool for wildfire and climate mitigation. Since joining KU, Adams has connected with Tribes in Kansas in their cultural fire revitalization efforts toward environmental and cultural restoration.

Through her ARI fellowship, Adams will continue to work with Museum staff, the KU Field Station, Tribes in Kansas, and the Tribal diverse community members of Lawrence to hold cultural fire demonstrations—a vehicle to revitalize Tribal environmental stewardship, reconnect to Ancestral Homelands, and reclaim Indigenous identities and expression.