University of Montana’s Environmental Studies Creates First of Its Kind Certificate in “Indigenous Knowledge and Environmental Sustainability”

University of Montana

Press Release

February 24, 2020

The University of Montana’s Environmental Studies Program created the first of its kind certificate in “Indigenous Knowledge and Environmental Sustainability” in the United States. The certificate is designed to prepare students to work within Indigenous communities or on Indigenous issues with nonprofits and government agencies – utilizing ancient wisdom to help solve 21st century problems.

“This is one of the few certificates in the country to integrate Indigenous Knowledge with Environmental Studies, and deepens the Environmental Studies and University of Montana's commitment to recognizing the Selis’-Qlispe´ (Salish) peoples on whose traditional lands the University lies,” said Dan Spencer, Director of the Environmental Studies Program.

The Indigenous Knowledge & Environmental Sustainability Certificate faculty mentor will work with students to select classes within Environmental Studies to learn how Indigenous peoples are moving toward revitalizing their communities, restoring Native landscapes, returning to traditional food systems, reestablishing long held sustainable practices, and strengthening traditional ecological knowledge.

Students are required to take 12 credits to earn the certificate, including Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and the Native Plant Stewardship and Ethnobotany internship (or environmental science internship), which provide both in-class and hands-on experiences.

I am excited to work with students to share the Indigenous Knowledge I learned from elders as we move to address 21st century environmental issues,” said Rosalyn LaPier, who will serve as the certificate faculty mentor.

Rosalyn LaPier is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe and Métis. She is a traditionally trained ethnobotanist who apprenticed with two elders for 20 years.

Students interested in the new 12-credit Indigenous Knowledge & Environmental Sustainability Certificate should contact the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Montana.


CONTACT: Susan E. Elliott, M.S., Administrative Assistant, 406-243-6273 or Rosalyn LaPier, Ph.D., 406-243-6787.