Gullah/Geechee Environmental Champion, Queen Quet Becomes a Professor in Department of Geography, Environment and Society
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) celebrated her 20th year as the Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation in July 2020. As of August, she became a professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at the University of Minnesota. Queen Quet is the Winton Chair at UMN and is engaging graduate students in an interdisciplinary course on Gullah/Geechee culture entitled, “WEBE Gullah/Geechee.”
The Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts was established in October 1987 to encourage “innovative, distinctive research in the liberal arts” with the special directive that the chair be held by individuals whose research or creative work “questions established patterns of thought.” Queen Quet has been to all fifty of the United States and around the world distinguishing herself as “The Art-ivist” via the genre of presentation that she created called “histo-musical presentations.” She has been challenging western established patterns of thought for decades.
Queen Quet is also known for challenging environmental injustice and for globally championing environmental causes via the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition (www.GullahGeechee.net) which she founded. The Coalition recently had two more environmental victories as she lead the defeat of a sand mine on Daufuskie Island and stopped a luxury resort from being built at Bay Point next to her home island of St. Helena in Beaufort County, SC.
Queen Quet has continued to participate in a number of environmental conferences virtually throughout the year. In spite of the pandemic, she continues to focus on working on solutions to the negative impacts that climate change is having to the Sea Islands of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. She provided an inspirational keynote address for the National Coastal Estuarine Summit. During October, she will also present as part of the international Climate Heritage Network for a conference being held by Historic England and one being held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Queen Quet is also providing the opening address for the “Energizing the South for Energy Justice Conference.”
On Wednesday, the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP) will honor Queen Quet at their Regional Adaptation Leadership Awards. The ceremony will be live streamed at https://www.facebook.com/americansocietyadaptationprofessionals and via the Gullah/Geechee Nation Facebook fan page at www.Facebook.com/GullahGeecheeWEBE . This honor truly shows the value of Queen Quet’s on-going work regarding climate change, adaptation, resilience, and cultural heritage continuation.
Queen Quet doesn’t simply bring theoretical discussion to the classroom. She brings living experience and indigenous traditional knowledge that is often overlooked or minimized within institutions of higher learning. The WEBE Gullah/Geechee course centers the focus on how the self-determination of native Gullah/Geechees is a substantial model in the discussion of how to mitigate harm to the environment. Gullah/Geechees embody resiliency and Queen Quet is an outstanding example of leadership in that regard. The University of Minnesota is proud to have her as a part of their family and to not only celebrate her returning to their campus as the Winton Chair, but to also celebrate the ASAP RALA ceremony with her.
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