What is Tribal Climate Action...
American Indian and Alaska Native communities face disproportionate climate impacts while contributing very little to the issue. Climate change threatens Tribal ways of life, cultural resources, cultural practices, land rights, and Tribal economies. Indigenous peoples’ histories and shared experience create distinct knowledge about climate change impacts and strategies for adaptation [Excerpt summarized from NCA4 Ch15 and PNW Tribal Climate Change Project].
Historic and present action…
Since colonization began, Indigenous people have been resisting unsustainable resource extraction and early anthropogenic climate change. Tribes across the United States are leading the way with innovative efforts to address climate change through adaptation and mitigation strategies [PNW Tribal Climate Change Project website].
A growing number of tribal governments and intertribal organizations are developing climate adaptation plans, with some in the early stages of implementation. Many Indigenous peoples support their own technical staff who study and manage broad sectoral programs and issues, which now include climate change adaptation planning and implementation. To this end, Indigenous peoples regularly collaborate with climate scientists and other professionals working in academic, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations, especially in the use of downscaled (local-scale) climate information and tools that have become more available in recent years [NCA4 Ch15].
The following resources are for the general public, Indigeous communities, federally recognized Tribes, and other organizations who are looking to learn more about this subject area or find resources to support ongoing Native climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.
Colonialism, the climate crisis, and the need to center Indigenous voices: 2021 Environmental Health News article acknowledging the historical root causes of the climate crisis in lieu of COP26.
ITEP’s Adaptation Planning Toolkit: This "toolkit" is a collection of templates and other resources developed by the ITEP to assist tribes in their climate change adaptation planning process.
NCA4: Chapter 15 of the fourth National Climate Assessment “Tribes and Indigenous People” report on the interconnected social, environmental, and economic impacts of climate change on Indigenous communities.
Status of Tribes and Climate Change Report: 2021 report published by the Institute of Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP). to increase understanding of Tribal lifeways, cultures, and worldviews, the climate change impacts Tribes are experiencing, the solutions they are implementing, and ways that all of us can support Tribes in adapting to our changing world.
The White House Council on Native American Affairs: The WHCNAA was established to improve the coordination of federal programs and the use of available federal resources for the benefit of tribal communities. Their committees focus on Climate Change, Tribal Homelands, Economic Development, Education, and more.
The White House Tribal Nations Summit Progress Report: This 38-page report was prepared by the domestic policy council at the White House in 2021 to review the progress of relations between President Biden and Tribal Nations.
ATNI Youth Climate Videos: ATNI’s 2020 Youth Video Contest awarded four winners for their short films on climate change and Native identity. This page has additional videos relating to these topics across the Americas.
Gather: This documentary shares the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.
Inhabitants: A feature documentary that follows five Native American Tribes across deserts, coastlines, forests, and prairies as they restore their traditional land management practices.
Land of the Yakamas: This short film fosters awareness of the unprecedented changes to Yakama Nation homelands and waters caused by the degradation of the environment over the last 150 years.
Rise: From One Island to Another: Two indigenous poets - one from the Marshall Islands and another from Greenland - meet at the source of our rising seas to share a moment of solidarity in this short video.
Song of the Salmon: A short video expressing the poetic exploration of salmon and the vitality of mate and other choices in the PNW waterscape.
Tending the Wild: This documentary shines light on the environmental knowledge of indigenous peoples across California by exploring how they have actively shaped and tended the land for millennia, in the process developing a deep understanding of plant and animal life.
USRT Videos: These four videos were completed as part of an Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation climate change adaptation planning project.
CRITFC: The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission works towards “ensuring a unified voice in the overall management of the fishery resources.”
Elderberry Wisdom Farm: This nonprofit was created to assist Native Americans as they integrate academics, experiential service learning activities and cultural and ecological knowledge while creating their own agricultural and horticultural career pathways.
ITEP: The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals strengthens tribal capacity and sovereignty in environmental and natural resource management through culturally relevant education, research, partnerships and policy-based services.
NAAF Land Stewardship Grants: The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) is a private, charitable trust serving Native farmers and ranchers through strategic grantmaking in the areas of business assistance, agricultural education, technical support and advocacy series.
NAF: The National Adaptation Forum gathers the adaptation community to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support for a better tomorrow.
Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board: The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board is comprised of of all forty-three federally recognized tribes in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and work to eliminate health disparities and improve the quality of life of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
NWIFC: The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) is a natural resources management support service organization for 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington.
NYCALC: The Native Youth Climate Adaptation Leadership Congress (NYCALC) works to develop future conservation leaders with the skills, knowledge, and tools to address environmental change and conservation challenges to better serve their schools and home communities.
For more resources, see part 1!