Professor Rebecca Tsosie, a lawyer who has served as executive director of the top ranked Indian legal program in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University since 1996 is the keynote speaker for the Salish Gathering Climate Change Summit.
Of Yaqui descent, Tsosie has written and published widely on doctrinal and theoretical issues related to tribal sovereignty, environmental policy and cultural rights.
The current model of extracting resources from tribal lands is all about the profit and shortsighted, Tsosie said. Planning for the future and what is best for the land and the climate is a long-term process that requires careful planning and valuing the resources for more than the profit they bring.
“We are being stuck with the consequences of the economic model of thinking,” said Tsosie. The legislators, businesses and government are all engaged in this model. Today is about being engaged in the cooperative model, transcending the physical and government boundaries that is the cultural way of the past and needs to be the way of the future, she said.
The sovereignty of tribes and how they are affected by these changes extends beyond the boundaries of their lands.