American Indians and climate change
OK Muscogee (Creek) citizen Patrick Freeland attended Haskell
Indian University, where he took part in two summer internships
that changed his research interest forever.
When Freeland first came to Haskell, he wanted to study alternative
energy sources but that was quickly replaced by the issue of climate
change in Native American communities.
After graduation, Freeland moved to West Lafayette, Ind., to
pursue his Master of Science at Purdue University where he graduated
this May from the Ecological Sciences and Engineering Interdisciplinary
Freeland said Purdue seemed fitting; considering he knew another
Muscogee (Creek) citizen who had recently made the transition from
Haskell to Purdue.
Before graduating with his Master of Science, Freeland spent
the past year researching for his graduate thesis. That is when
he realized the need for research and awareness regarding Native
Americans and climate change.
When you look at the amount of published literature about
American Indians and climate change, its only about a half-inch
thick stack of papers, Freeland said.
While attending Purdue, he was able to receive two prominent
fellowships to go toward his thesis research and tuition. He also
has had the opportunity to speak at Purdues Native Center
throughout his graduate career.
We recently featured a Sterlin Harjo movie, Freeland
said. People from all over the planet, the only experience
theyve had with American Indians is reading an article about
the Redskins mascot. So, we have the chance to talk about culture,
point out certain words in the movies and stuff like that.
Freeland plans to pursue his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics,
Security and Conservation. In the meantime, he is looking for opportunities
to teach on the college level.
Theres potential to work at Northwest Indian College
in Bellingham, Washington, and thatd be nice, Freeland
said. I also hear Haskell may be hiring soon and thatd
Although Freeland said he is a few years off from receiving
his Ph.D., his ultimate goal is to start a family and be productive
Find a family; support them, and have a good life doing
that, Freeland said. And do something productive with
climate change. You see a lot of people talking about it but few
are working on it and actions are the solution.
He is a member of the Wind Clan, Tallahassee Indian Methodist
Church and Big Cussetah Ceremonial Ground.