CHARLESTON, SC (Jan. 12, 2023)—An innovative partnership between South Carolina’s tribal communities and the Open Space Institute (OSI) will apply traditional Indigenous environmental knowledge to land management, thanks in part to a $70,000 grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.
The Black River Tribal Interest Working Group will collaborate with OSI, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), botanists, and archeologists to conduct an ethnobotany study inventorying culturally significant plants on four properties along South Carolina’s Black River Initiative, a 70-mile-long riverine park network running through Williamsburg and Georgetown counties.
The project will support the reclamation of traditional Indigenous knowledge, ensure park access for Indigenous tribal members, demonstrate to the public the importance of these practices, and inform land management with traditional best practices.
“With thousands of years of history in the Black River corridor, South Carolina’s tribes have incomparable knowledge and expertise that can guide future efforts,” said Dr. Maria Whitehead, OSI’s Vice President and Director of Land Southeast. “This effort is a small but meaningful step forward. OSI and our partners are thankful for the Foundation’s support for our region’s conservation community.”
The Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and regional collections for the people of the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and the Chicago metro area. In addition to this partnership between OSI and the Black River Tribal Interest Working Group, the Foundation’s Broadening Narratives program supports Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities, LGBTQ+ perspectives, working-class narratives, and small community experiences.