Majerle Lister

Majerle Lister is a Navajo Ph.D Student in the School of Geography, Development, and Environment Department at University of Arizona. His work focuses on Navajo geography as it relates to land regimes, development, and extractive economies. His ethnographic research emphasizes Native sovereignty and self-determination.

Project Title: Diné Resource Governance: Early 20th Century Soil experiments in the Navajo Nation

Abstract: The Navajo Nation has an intimate and complex colonial history with soil research and experimentation that extends back to the early 19th century with the Soil Conservation Service and Soil Erosion Service. These experiments and programs informed the quantification of soil and land, land regimes, and the political geography of the Navajo Nation. During the 1930s and 1940s, soil data was collected to understand the land conditions and these archived surveys illustrated the political technology workings and offered insight into how land and soil were constructed within the Navajo Nation. Working with local conservation volunteers, I will collaborate with local members to understand how the archived surveys shed light on historical questions and contemporary political and environmental issues in the Navajo Nation.