Growth Through Knowledge and Understanding speaker series to explore Environmental Justice; Seneca artist Lee Dingus to discuss the use of Native Lands

The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and the Westmoreland Diversity Coalition will present their next speaker in the fall Growth Through Knowledge and Understanding speaker series that is focusing on environmental justice. Lenora “Lee” Dingus, a Seneca artist, co-founder of Echoes of the Four Directions, and activist for local and national human rights, will discuss the use of Native Lands on Wednesday, Nov. 3. The series is offered virtually and is free. Participants are asked to register in order to receive the Zoom log-in information. Each session will begin at 7 p.m. with an anticipated length of 45 minutes to 60 minutes.

Dingus and her husband Earl Dingus founded Echoes of the Four Directions to serve as a Native American cultural resource, reference, and information source. Her background includes serving as a diversity trainer and equal rights trainer for the Veterans Administration healthcare system and on a local and national level in the area of Native American culture and general diversity training. Part of the Pittsburgh community, Dingus has provided diversity training to the City of Pittsburgh Police department as well as police departments and colleges and universities in the tri-state area.

Now retired from her role as a Native American advisor to the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, Dingus continues to serve as the chairperson of the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Native American Heritage Committee and as a community Native American advisor for the Federal government and the community at large. She is an adjunct professor for the Community College of Allegheny County teaching a three-credit course in Native American Anthropology and co-teaches, with her husband, a Native American history and culture program in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

In addition to her arts and Native American concerns, she also has been an activist for local and national human rights, employee rights, and veterans concerns with both the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees).

Dingus currently works for Pearson Education where, as part of her collateral duties, she is an International Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager with an emphasis in the Indigenous fields, including but not limited to hosting a blog, helping with curriculum development and reform, and consulting with all levels of managers, and employees on Indigenous issues and concerns and projects.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines Environmental Justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” It follows that if all people are going to be treated with dignity and respect, they need to have access to healthy and sustainable environments while recognizing that official policy and procedures have not been equitable for all populations.

The following schedule has been developed for the series:

  • Wednesday, November 3 -- Use of Native Lands, presented by Lee Dingus of the Echoes of the Four Directions
  • Wednesday, November 17 -- Consequences of Urban Planning and Climate Change and Its Effects on Minority Populations, presented by  Justin Dula, of the Office of Environmental Justice, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and vice president of the American Planning Association (Pennsylvania Chapter)

Carlotta Paige, founder and co-chair of the Westmoreland Diversity Coalition, and Al Thiel, director of the Student Center and Student Involvement at Pitt-Greensburg, are co-chairs of the speaker series. Their goal is to challenge participants to think about how to create a more equitable world that values respect and dignity for all people.

For additional information, contact Paige at or Thiel at

Publication Date

Monday, November 1, 2021 - 12:30