Melinda M. Adams

Melinda Adams profile headshot
  • Langston Hughes Assistant Professor
  • Joint Appointment with Indigenous Studies

Contact Info

Malott Hall #4022


Melinda holds her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Haskell Indian Nations University, her Master of Science in Ecology and Environmental Science from Purdue University, and Master of Arts and PhD in Native American Studies from the University of California Davis.


Melinda's current research focuses on the revitalization of cultural burns (small area prescribed fires conducted using Traditional Ecological Knowledge), in collaboration with Tribal Nations in Northern California. She examines plant and soil physical-chemical responses to cultural fire including culturally significant plant yield, soil carbon storage, nutrient cycling, and water holding capacity. This work is rooted in the place-specific, land stewardship lessons of Indigenous cultural fire practitioner-partners.  

Broader implications of this research include deploying cultural fire as a climate adaptation strategy while mitigating the frequency and intensity of catastrophic wildfire in the West.  

Her overall research areas of interest incudes pyrogeography, biogeography, and Indigenous Environmental Science, mixed with Native American and Indigenous studies pedagogy and methodology.  

Melinda is a former Tribal college professor at Haskell Indian Nations University, having developed research and curriculum intergrading Indigenous Knowledge with Western Science while mentoring/ instructing Native students representing over 130 different Tribal Nations from across the country.