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Asa Samuels

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Asa (Ace) Samuels
NAS Mellon Impact Fellow

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Associate Degree, Biology, Seminole State College, 2020
BS, Biology, University of Oklahoma, In Progress
BA, Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma, In Progress

Personal Statement

I am a non-traditional, first-generation, and most importantly, an Indigenous student at the University of Oklahoma. Trudging through obstacles life has put in my way, I believe being an overcomer is the start of a personal legacy that I want to pour into the Native community. My goal as an Indigenous person, not just Mr. Indigenous OU, is to be of service to all native people across sacred land. I want to see our Native communities grow in every way possible. I highly encourage our Native children and youth to practice their language, dance, and ceremony to keep their own cultures alive for the next generations in the near future. I encourage the advancement of education in Native communities to pave the way for Native people in all areas of academia so that Indigenous people can once again be leaders of this country. I encourage the likeness of all tribes to be reconnected with the lands in a more holistic way so that passion and love will be in our relationship with all things natural. I believe that Native people have their own tribes and heritages but I also believe we are inter-connected in many ways. I have a vision for the future of our people and I would like to see it through.

Areas of Interest and Expertise

I am pursuing a career in wildlife conservation with an Indigenous Perspective. Using Traditional Ecological Knowledge and other Traditional Knowledges to educate all people about how Indigenous Cultures have a major impact on the natural world. These knowledges have been practiced for thousands of years and adaptation to climate change, environmental impacts, and wildlife endangerment has been influenced greatly by Indigenous People. Using the old techniques that our ancestors practiced is a holistic way of changing the world and also saves our cultural practices and heritages.

Honors and Recognition

I am the current Mr. Indigenous OU and my platform is Indigenous Inclusion. I am a member of the American Indian Student Association, Sigma Nu Alpha Gamma, Genomics and Ethics of Native People in Research, SACNAS, AISES, and McNair Scholars cohort.

Selected Research and Creative Activity

Tribal Engagement and Climate Change in State Wildlife Action Plans is my current focus. Representing my Native Community as Mr. Indigenous is another role I take serious.

Administrative Work

I am currently working at the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center at the OU research campus assisting the tribal liaison.

Current Projects

I have been studying Rivercane Restoration and its cultural importance in south eastern Oklahoma. I have also been engaged with the State Wildlife Action Plan committee, assessing tribal engagements and climate change in state wildlife action plans. I am also engaged with Recovering Americas Wildlife Act of 2021 and how it addresses Native people in wildlife conservation. I have done presentations for all topics in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Washington State.