Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Systemic bias and institutional marginalization of individuals and communities is pervasive throughout all aspects of our society based on, but not limited to, race, gender identity, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, culture, and religion. We are committed to fostering a culture of equity and inclusion within our organization, to embrace and honor the unique identities of all of our current and future staff, partners, and colleagues.
Working at the science-policy interface, we also see these inequalities reflected in the ocean and coastal science landscape, including disparities in access to education opportunities, access to coastal environments, climate change resilience, and meaningful coastal and ocean policy engagement, among many others. We are committed to challenging these systemic problems by proactively building relationships and partnerships that redistribute power to marginalized and historically excluded communities, and amplify their voices.
Serving one of the most diverse states in the country, we believe that it is impossible to develop effective and equitable solutions to climate change and its disproportionate impact on frontline communities without including a broad set of perspectives, lived experiences, and ways of knowing. Moreover, we acknowledge that we must approach our work through the broader context of California’s history of inequities, including forced displacement, environmental racism, and unjust land use and acquisition. We are committed to elevating values of equity and inclusion in our work and organizational decision-making, maintaining a culture of continuous learning, and publicly sharing our progress.
1We use the following definition of frontline communities to “include lower-income communities, communities of color, Indigenous peoples and Tribal nations, and immigrant communities who are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because of decades-long, pervasive socioeconomic conditions that are perpetuated by systems of inequitable power and resource distribution” (Mohnot, Bishop, and Sanchez, 2019).
Indigenous Peoples and Territories Acknowledgement
California is home to the largest Native American population in the country, with 109 federally recognized tribes and many more fighting for recognition. For generations before California’s establishment, Indigenous peoples stewarded and lived interdependently with coastal and marine environments. Following western settlement, state and federal law restricted access to ancestral lands and ocean resources. OST recognizes the current and historical injustices, inequities, and erasure of Indigenous peoples in California. We acknowledge the importance of all that has been lost through colonialization, genocide, cultural assimilation, and slavery, and that we are standing on the unceded tribal lands of California’s Indigenous peoples.
OST’s team extends throughout California and the ancestral lands of California’s Indigenous peoples. Our headquarters reside upon the ancestral homelands of several tribal communities in Sacramento, which has been a gathering place for cultural richness, diversity, reunion, and governance since time immemorial. We honor and value the unique ways of life, cultures, traditions, and histories of the original people of the greater Sacramento region: the Nisenan people, whose territory begins at the valley floor and extends up the foothills of Nevada City; the Patwin people to the west of the Sacramento River and into the foothills of the Coast Ranges; the Miwok people located on the east side of the American River, known to tribal people as the “Mokelumne” or Condor River; and the Maidu tribes who spanned from Mount Lassen westward to the Sacramento River and south to the American, or Mokelumne River.
Our organization is committed to exploring meaningful collaborations with tribal communities and recognizes the need for deeper integration of tribal perspectives, expertise, and sources of knowledge in ocean and coastal science and policy. Learn more about how we are honoring this call to action through our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commitments.
Below you will find a directory of educational resources on local tribes and histories of the Sacramento area. Our Land Acknowledgement is not something that happens once, but is a regular integration of education among our team at OST.
Sacramento’s Tribal History (Sacramento Native American Health Center)
Nisenan Tribe: The Road to Federal Recognition
California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project
NAHC digital atlas Native Land map
Additional Resources and Reading
Societal change is a communal effort; for that, we thank the following groups for their continued labor and educational efforts, and invite readers to look at some of the resources available on their websites. This list is a work in progress, please contact email@example.com with your suggestions and input.