Kelli’s research is focused on land rights claims and the impact of climate change on Indigenous communities. In summer 2018, for her field practicum, she collaborated on research in Maasailand, Kenya utilizing ethnographic decolonizing methodologies to initiate community-driven change. This research focused on the impacts of drought driven by climate change compounded with issues of land and grazing, which was an issue identified by community members as the biggest threat to their community and livelihoods.
By receiving her bachelor's degree from University of Arizona School of Anthropology, Kelli gained a nuanced understanding of culture and the factors that shape culture in the context of globalization. This molded her perspective of the historical contexts within which Indigenous Peoples operate. While these experiences provided her with an understanding of Indigenous cultures from an anthropological perspective, she found herself seeking ways to connect to the thriving Indigenous peoples around the world today. Following my undergraduate years, she focused her energy on Indigenous land rights movements, linking this with interests in climate vulnerability and social change. After graduation, Kelli served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Perú where she worked to mitigate the effects of climate change through forestation campaigns, incorporating green infrastructure such as recycling through collaboration with the local government, and teaching STEM classes in the primary and secondary schools.
“Serving in the Peace Corps in Perú and living among an Indigenous community has given me a unique first-hand insight of the rapid effects a changing climate has on Indigenous communities. Beyond my research and academic experience, I am committed to being engaged with the local community and to disseminate knowledge produced by the academy. Through my experiences living and researching with Indigenous communities, I have developed a passion for Indigenous justice.”