Originally broadcast at 10:45 a.m. ET Wednesday, July 6, 2022.
Kelsey Leonard is a water scientist, legal scholar, policy expert, writer, and enrolled citizen of the Shinnecock Nation, who works as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, where her research focuses on Indigenous water justice and its climatic, territorial, and governance underpinnings. Leonard seeks to establish Indigenous traditions of water conservation as the foundation for international water policymaking, and her recent scholarship explores legal personhood for water. It is this approach to conservation that will frame her Chautauqua Lecture Series presentation in a week on “The Wild: Reconnecting With Our Natural World.” Leonard represents the Shinnecock Indian Nation on the Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean, which is charged with protecting America's ocean ecosystems and coastlines. In collaboration with a global team of water law scholars, Leonard has published in Lewis and Clark Law Review on Indigenous Water Justice and the defining international legal principle of self-determination under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Among Leonard’s honors and awards are the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, a “Native American 40 Under 40” award from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, and a Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Solutions. She has also been recognized as a 30 Under 30 World Environmental Leader by the North American Association for Environmental Education. Leonard is a member of the Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission, the National Ocean Protection Coalition Science Advisory Team, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature Academic Hub and affiliate of the Earth Law Center. She received an A.B. in Sociology and Anthropology with honors from Harvard University, a MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford, a JD from Duquesne University, and PhD in Political Science from McMaster University.
About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.