Samantha DiNatale

2022 McNair Scholar, Samantha DiNatale

University of New Hampshire
McNair Scholar, 2022, 2021
Major: Environmental Conservation
2022 Mentor: Dr. Teresa Cohn
2022 Research Title: Nimiipúu Spatio-temporalitites of Water and Fish

2022 Abstract:
For the Nez Perce Tribe of the Northwestern region of what is now known as the United States, fishing is a lifeway, and waters are sacred. The Nez Perce Tribe, or the Nimiipúu people, have relied upon water sources and fishing locations, both apart of their reservation and beyond its boundaries, for thousands of years. The fish native to these waters are not only a part of subsistence patterns but are a key aspect to the Origin stories of the Tribe. The significance of fishing and water to Nimiipúu ways of life cannot be over-emphasized. The ways in which the Nez Perce Tribe view fish and water is often through a spatio-temporal lens, or conceptions of space and time that, for example, connect headwaters to ocean in waters that host both cycles of anadromous fish -- moving upstream and downstream to and from spawning grounds -- and the Nimiipúu cycles that move with them. However, these perceptions are often stifled due to the impacts of settler colonialism and institutions that often make it difficult for Indigenous communities, including the Nez Perce Tribe, to assert sovereignty over water. Settler space and time, often associated with private land ownership and the following of linear time, doesn’t always align with Indigenous space and time, posing a colonial challenge. This proposed research builds on prior work that focuses on Nimiipúu spatio-temporalities and the governance of tribal waters (Cohn et al., 2022). Interview data will be added to the GIS, and water quality concerns of Nez Perce community members will be analyzed using inductive coding methods. The overall purpose of this work is to fine-tune the GIS in preparation of data transfer to the Nez Perce Tribe, and to more broadly support tribal sovereignty and matters associated with water governance.

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2021 Mentor: Dr. Kurk Dorsey, Department of History
2021 Research Title: A Battle Against "Ecology Nuts": An Examination of Olympic Oil Refinery Proponents

2021 Abstract:
In the early 1970s, the United States was facing an oil embargo that sparked concern in citizens across the nation. As the winter months were approaching in 1973, gasoline prices continued to skyrocket, and officials encouraged conservation of heating oil. Americans struggled to adjust to such abrupt changes after having essentially unrestricted access to petroleum supplies. During this crisis, Aristotle Onassis swooped in, like a savior, proposing to construct a rather massive oil refinery on the seacoast of New Hampshire. This plant, his team promised, would bring an abundance of fuel, jobs, and tax revenue to the area. To his surprise, a number of local residents fought the project due to its environmental and aesthetic implications. Through the grassroots activism of seacoast residents from towns such as Durham and Rye, the refinery construction was rejected. Much of the literature published today focuses on the triumphs of those who successfully fought off the industry, leaving the plant's many proponents out of the story. In order to understand how the proponents felt about the refinery, a thorough analysis of primary and secondary resources was conducted. Supporters of the refinery emphasized the economic benefits of building it, but they also made their case by attacking what they perceived to be the elitism of the project's opponents. Using terms like "ecology nuts" and "pseudo educated jackasses," they tried to persuade undecided citizens that the opponents were out of touch with the problems of ordinary people, reflecting larger cultural divisions of the 1970s.

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