School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

TEK Conference

Rights of Nature and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Conference

The Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Conference is an exciting opportunity to spend time with native and non-native ecological wisdom holders and earth healers whose knowledge reflects the nexus of objective and subjective scientific inquiry. Speakers will share their work and viewpoints about establishing and maintaining a deep relationship with our fresh water, forests, land including the plants and animals, and of course ourselves and communities which are an integral part of our natural surroundings. Special emphasis on the Rights of Nature movement and the construction of legal protections for non-humans will be unpacked as part of this unique event. 

Through generous contributions by the Ho-Chunk Nation, D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, and Viterbo University Biology Department, the conference was free and open to the public with limited registration.

 Updated 10/26/16 - Winona LaDuke's keynote address is available from or by clicking here 

Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
Viterbo University Fine Arts Center

Keynote and Plenary Speakers:

  • Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth - "Rights of Nature"
  • Elise Amel, University of St. Thomas -  "Leverage Psychology for Sustainability"
  • Paul DeMain,  Indian Country Communications, Inc. - "Historic Tribal Economies and Indigenous Languages: Food, Fuel and Medicines for the Future"
  • Mari Margil, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund - "Indigenous Rights & the Rights of Nature"

Conference Details:

PDF iconConference schedule

PDF iconPresentation summaries

For inquiries regarding the conference, please contact Michael Alfieri, associate professor and chair of biology at