Dr. Nelson joined Arizona State University in August 2020 where she is a professor of Indigenous Sustainability in the School of Sustainability. Dr. Nelson is an Indigenous ecologist, writer, editor, media-maker, and scholar-activist. Before joining the School of Sustainability, she served as a professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University (2002 – 2020), specializing in Indigenous Environmental and California Indian Studies. She is a transdisciplinary and community-based scholar dedicated to Indigenous rights and sustainability, biocultural heritage and environmental justice, intercultural solidarity, and the renewal and celebration of community health and cultural arts.
Dr. Nelson actively advocates for Indigenous Peoples' rights and sustainable lifeways in higher education, nonprofits, and philanthropy, and is particularly passionate about Indigenous food sovereignty at local, regional, and global levels. Melissa Nelson is Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis, and Norwegian (a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians).
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