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UNITY Earth Ambassador Alumni helps lead Changing Currents Youth Summit


“I was a former Earth Ambassador back in the 1990s and UNITY had such a major influence on my life and career” shared Program Manager Direlle R. Calica, J.D., Tux’um’shush. “As the third Changing Currents Tribal Youth Water Summit approaches, I wanted to connect with UNITY youth to invite them to participate.” said Calica.  “We have established the Changing Currents: Tribal Water Policy project here in the Pacific Northwest as a project of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians. The project is to provide information and training on water policy, technology, hydrology, planning, public health, and infrastructure. We have had four Tribal Leader water summits in the NW and two tribal youth water summits with the University of Oregon. This last year we had a few students remind us of their connection to UNITY Youth Councils and the Earth Ambassador Program.”

Where Are They Now: UNITY Earth Ambassador Alumni Profile: 

Mrs. Direlle R. Calica. J.D. has over 20-years of experience as a legislative, policy, planning, and regulatory advisor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office-District of Oregon, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Intertribal Organizations, and various Indian Tribes. Mrs. Calica has extensive professional experience in intergovernmental affairs, hydro-system planning, tribal economic development, tribal energy infrastructure policy, and tribal water policy.

She has also served as a White House Intern and Mark O. Hat-field Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Senate. Her professional background includes a Juris Doctorate with a focus on Business and Natural Resource policy. Mrs. Calica was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School in the Indian Law Program. Mrs. Calica also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Northwest Energy Coalition, the Oregon Native American Chamber, and Council Member for the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council. She is also a Bonneville Environmental Foundation (B-E-F) Board of Director, Emeritus. Mrs. Calica is the Managing Partner of Kanim Associates, LLC a Native American, women and Veteran owned company based in Portland, Oregon. Finally, she is a member of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) and the WSBA Environmental Law Section.

 More on Changing Currents: 
Tribes and Native communities are uniquely positioned to advance their sovereign, legal, cultural, and basic human right to clean water.  Changing Currents fosters intertribal collaboration and shared learning opportunities to develop, advance, and implement a shared water policy agenda in Northwest U.S. states. Changing Currents convenes important Intertribal & Native perspectives on water resource issues and builds connection to non-Native neighbors, Communities of Color, partners, and stakeholders that have shared concerns.
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Changing Currents was founded upon the idea that water is a highly critical and invaluable resource for many tribal communities and is an inherent part of tribal culture, spirituality, and society. Tribes and Native communities view their relationship to the water and the inter-relation of natural resources as one of stewardship and reverence. This relationship to water is rooted in creation stories, prayer, and traditions that have been handed down from one generation to the next for countless generations. Tribes embrace a philosophy and responsibility “to leave the resource better than when you found it.”  Today, the relationship and stewardship to water and natural resources is becoming difficult as the demands and pressures on these resources increases.

In August 2017, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) and several partners convened the first Changing Currents: Tribal Water Summit  at the University of Oregon’s Knight Law Center. The summit brought together staff and leadership from Tribes across the Northwest to begin a dialogue around common water interests and opportunities at the state level.

Since that inaugural summit, Changing Currents as a project of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) has continued build interest and to create on-going summits focused on water resource protection topics and to develop a shared understanding of “common interests” or priorities.

The four-major common intertribal interests: