Autumn Bernhardt

Lecturer, Colorado State University

Autumn L. Bernhardt is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Colorado State University. Professor Bernhardt’s work has been published in two books, Blood, Water, Wind, & Stone and Grazing the Fire, as well as a number of U.S. and international journals and magazines. Her short story Bead Dreamers will be released later this Fall as part of the Bawaajigan anthology. Professor Bernhardt has also written a chapter on indigenous water justice for the book Vision & Place, which is forthcoming. She is a non-citizen Lakota and former attorney of the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona. In addition to her academic work, Professor Bernhardt has been involved in sacred land and water litigation on behalf of Colorado River Basin tribes. As an Assistant Attorney General, she represented Colorado in U.S. Supreme Court litigation relating to an interstate water compact dispute. Professor Bernhardt holds a J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School.

Autumn is speaking at

October 9, 2019
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Grand Ballroom, CSU's Lory Student Center


  • Susan Moran (Emcee) co-host of How On Earth science show, KGNU radio station
  • Josh Zaffos (Emcee) High Country News/ Colorado State University and Conference Co-Chair
  • Joel Berger (Speaker) Professor and Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair in Wildlife Conservation, Department of FWC Biology, Colorado State University; Senior Scientist, Wildlife Conservation Society; and Author, “Extreme Conservation: Life at the Edges of the World” and “The Better to Eat You With: Fear in the Animal World”
  • Autumn Bernhardt (Speaker) Lecturer, Colorado State University
  • Dominique David-Chavez (Speaker) Native Nations Institute & Colorado State University
  • Camille Dungy (Speaker) English Department
  • Kathleen Galvin (Speaker) Professor, Department of Anthropology, and Director of the Africa Center, Colorado State University
  • Bobby Magill (Speaker) Reporter, Bloomberg Environment, and SEJ President
  • Rick Miranda (Speaker) Provost and Executive Vice President, Colorado State University
  • Cary Morin (Musician) Guitar Picker, Performer and Crow Tribal Member
  • Diana Wall (Speaker) University Distinguished Professor, Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability and Professor, Department of Biology, Colorado State University


The bar opens early, so grab a drink and mingle. Chat with colleagues and network with sources. Browse the creations of Colorado artists and learn about groundbreaking research on environmental issues at a scientists' poster session. Elected officials, renowned scientists, Native American leaders and distinguished writers will share welcoming remarks and brief presentations to introduce you to Colorado and the conference. A state known for its towering mountains, rivers and a booming recreation economy, Colorado is a leader in renewable energy development and climate action. At the same time, the state has welcomed and benefited economically from an oil and gas boom, and it is now grappling with how to balance these seemingly conflicting ideals and goals.

Colorado is also home to pioneering national labs and research institutions. Tonight you’ll learn how research by Colorado scientists spans the globe — from the Far North to the South Pole — in both geographic reach and impact.

3:45-5:30 p.m.   Meet & Greet, open bar
5:30-6:00 p.m.   Close bar, move bar, set up cash bar
6:00-7:00 p.m.   Poster session, cash bar, light hors d'oeuvres
7:00-8:15 p.m.   Program and cash bar

October 11, 2019
2:15 pm - 3:30 pm
Room 308-310, 3rd Floor, Lory Student Center


  • Laura Paskus (Moderator) Environment Correspondent, New Mexico PBS
  • Autumn Bernhardt (Speaker ) Lecturer, Colorado State University
  • Eric Perramond (Speaker ) KECK Director, Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies and Professor of Environmental Science and Southwest Studies, Colorado College
  • Naveena Sadasivam (Speaker ) Staff Writer, Grist


Access to clean water is a human right. And yet, access to clean water — not to mention water rights and sustainable sources of water for farming and small communities — is oftentimes limited for some communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities. Even in the western United States, where water rights are based on prior appropriation — first in time, first in line — and tribes have the oldest water rights, legal mechanisms and financial restraints keep them from accessing the water they own.

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