Native News Network Staff in Native Currents. Discussion »
SOUTHAMPTON, NEW YORK On September 22, St Cross college student Kelsey Leonard, 24, became the ﬁrst American Indian woman to receive a degree from the University of Oxford in England.
Kelsey Leonard - Shinnecock
Ms. Leonard is an enrolled member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation of Southampton, New York and attended the pre-ceremony reception at St Cross College. St Cross is one of the 38 Colleges of the University of Oxford. Dedicated solely to Graduate Students and Fellows, St Cross is characterized by an intellectually vibrant and truly international community. Ms. Leonard received a MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for not only Ms. Leonard but for all Native Peoples of the United States”
stated a representative of the Shinnecock Indian Nation.
“Kelsey continues to bring much pride to the Shinnecock Indian Nation”
Before attending Oxford University, Ms. Leonard served as a youth leader within the United American Indians of Delaware Valley in Philadelphia. She went on to become the executive co-president of a national Native Youth Organization called UNITY. She was also the ﬁrst member of the Shinnecock Nation to graduate from Harvard University, where she served within various Native undergraduate organizations including the All Ivy Native Council and the Harvard University Native American Program.
After completing her degree program at Oxford, Ms. Leonard has been an independent consultant in Western Pennsylvania with a variety of nonprofit organizations on environmental policy and water resource management projects. This in light of the expansive natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale Region and the impact it continues to have on water resources in the Northeast.
Her Master's dissertation was entitled
Water Quality For Native Nations: Achieving A Trust Responsibility and examined water quality regulation within the United States and the seminal regulatory legislation of environmental federalism currently known as the Clean Water Act. It explored the dimensions of power and the decision making processes over water resources within the United States and how, amidst the presupposed expanse of the regulatory framework, a large portion of the world's most pristine natural resources went unprotected Tribal Waters.
The dissertation further examines the inclusion of Indian Country into the environmental federalism framework and the challenges Indian nations face in protecting the quality of their waters through treatment in the same manner as a state, while maintaining their sovereignty.
posted October 1, 2012 11:50 am edt