Tribal Profiles, Fact Sheets and Climate Planning Tools

These climate change resources include a wide-range of materials, from profiles of tribal climate change efforts around the United States,  fact sheets that focus on climate change impacts, adaptation strategies, and other relevant topics, and planning resources for developing climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans. Additional tribal climate change planning resources can be found at these sites:

Titlesort descending Description Category Geography Website
First Foods and Climate Change

Indigenous populations in North America face significant threats from climate change. One area of great concern is how first foods will be impacted by climate change. Because of the vital role that first foods play in the physical, mental and spiritual health of native communities, impacts from climate change on first foods may negatively affect tribal culture and livelihood. This profile explores the challenges that indigenous peoples face in maintaining their historically important relationships with first foods in the context of climate change. The profile also outlines the impacts that climate change may have on many first foods, describes challenges facing indigenous peoples in continuing their relationship with first foods, and explore ways in which they have adapted or responded to these challenges.

TEK, Tribal National Link
First Stewards Symposium: Coastal Peoples Address Climate Change

In July 2012, four coastal treaty tribes from Washington State, the Hoh, Makah, and Quileute Tribes and Quinault Indian Nation, hosted the First Stewards Symposium at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC in recognition of the rapid changes coastal tribes are experiencing from climate change and changes in marine ecosystems. The Symposium convened coastal people from across the United States and its territories to discuss the impacts of climate change and strategies for mitigation and adaptation. Tribal leaders, governmental and non-governmental agency representatives, academics, and non-profit indigenous advocates came together to demonstrate the impacts of climate change in regions throughout the U.S. and its territories and how indigenous adaptations to climate change can guide society moving forward. The Symposium emphasized strategies to promote actions in society-at-large to adapt to climate change and discussed the opportunity for native people to be leaders and provide models for other native and non-native communities. The First Stewards Symposium led to a resolution illustrating the impacts of climate change on traditional ways of life and culture and calling for the formal recognition and inclusion of indigenous communities in the formation of policies, management and other government action.

Adaptation, Mitigation, Organization, Tribal National, US States and Territories, International Link
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, located in northeastern Minnesota, is striving to reduce its carbon footprint and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Sustainability, energy efficiency, and the development of renewable energy are key goals, and the Band aims to protect the reservation and its resources for the cultural, spiritual, and physical well-being of its people.

Mitigation, Renewable energy, Tribal Great Lakes, Northeast Link
Forest County Potawotami and Climate Change

Potawatomi tribes are looking to elders for guidance and wisdom regarding ecological stewardship. The tribe's deep, innate understanding that all things are connected has fueled everything from recycling initiatives to energy retrofitting and green building to reduce emissions and combat climate change. The next step is to achieve energy independence and tribal sovereignty for their tribe and others across the nation to really have an impact.

Traditional Knowledge, Green Energy, Mitigation, Tribal Northeast Link
Fort McDowell Yavapai: Harnessing solar power for energy independence and utilities savings:

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is located east of Phoenix in central Arizona. Not surprisingly, the large deserts of Arizona, including those in the Phoenix area, "offer some of the highest solar power potential in the country" according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In addition to the greenhouse gas reductions associated with renewable energy, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Tribe long ago realized the tremendous financial incentives posed by solar power. The profile provides an overview of several solar photovoltaic projects that the tribe has been implementing.

Mitigation, Renewable energy, Solar, Tribal Southwest Link
Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa: Creative Solutions for a Changing Environment

The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians resides in the northeast corner of Minnesota along Lake Superior. The dynamic environs of the region host a wide array of birds, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Unprecedented warming of Lake Superior in recent years suggests that climate change is taking effect around Grand Portage and is threatening local wildlife species. One of the Grand Portage Band’s major concerns is that climate change may lead to the loss of culturally significant subsistence species including moose and brook trout in the Lake Superior region. The tribe hopes that by investing in mitigation projects it can accomplish environmental and natural resources goals, achieve energy and food independence, contribute to carbon solutions, and reduce expenses to community members. In addition to existing mitigation projects and initiatives, the tribe is currently developing a comprehensive climate change adaptation and mitigation plan for tribal lands and resources. The plan addresses water quality, air quality, sustainable forestry, adaptation to shifts in fisheries and wildlife, sustainable food ventures, alternative energy development, and energy conservation programs.

Mitigation, Adaptation, Tribal Great Lakes, Northeast Link
Indigenous Peoples and Northwest Climate Initiatives: Exploring the Role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Resource Management

In 2012, the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NPLCC) and the Northwest Climate Science Center (NW CSC) awarded over $300,000 in funds to seven projects that facilitate the use of traditional ecological knowledge to help inform natural and cultural resource management. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided funds to the NPLCC for these projects, with two of the projects co-sponsored by the Northwest Climate Science Center. This profile showcases projects and shares the diverse ways in which tribal, First Nations and Alaska Native communities are gathering TEK, integrating this knowledge into resource management, and addressing gaps in climate change information.

Adaptation, Mitigation, Tribal Northwest Link
Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change

This profile features Northern California-based ecologist Dennis Martinez and his thoughts on the roles of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and western science. For the past 40 years, Martinez has worked to facilitate dialogue incorporating both approaches to understanding the natural world. He has also been working with the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment (IPCCA), which is empowering local communities to do their own climate change assessments.

TEK, Tribal National, Northwest, International Link
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) Climate Change Fisheries Impacts

The harvest of salmon has declined by as much as 90 percent over the past several decades and can be attributed to a combination o f climate change and poor land and water management. Overharvesting of timber and land clearing of soil and plants have degraded some of nature's natural filtration systems which help keep toxins out of aquatic sytems. Additionally, as the impacts of climate change are felt from rising sea level to drought and flooding, matters will only grow worse. However with the ongoing tribal environmental work, the use of traditional knowledge ,and the push for better decisions, perhaps there is a chance to retore salmon populations.

Coastal, Fisheries Management, Tribal Northwest Link
Intertribal COUP: Prairie Winds

Before drought perpetuated by climate change hit the northern Great Plains,hydro-power was a major power source. However, now nearly 80% of power generation is produced from lignite coal (dirty coal) combustion. To help address the impacts of dirty-coal, fourteen tribes are presently allied with the I-COUP wind-power cooperative in developing and installing wind turbines on tribal lands. Currently the largest plant is located on Rosebud Sioux reservation and plans are underway to have the tribes supplying 300 mW of wind energy by 2015.

Energy, Wind Energy, Tribal Plains, Midwest Link
Intertribal Timber Council (ITC) Resources, Publications and Reports

The ITC maintains a webpage dedicated to publications, training information, resources and newsletters.

Timber, Natural Resource Management, Training National Link
Inupiaq Work to Preserve Food and Traditions on Alaska's North Slope

Nuiqsut is a traditional Inupiat community located in Alaska's North Slope region on the west bank of the Colville River, 18 miles south from the inlet to the Beaufort Sea. The North Slope of Alaska is well within the Arctic Circle—even during its short summers, the land there is mostly permafrost and ice. People, wildlife, and vegetation in the region have all adapted to live in the cold, mostly frozen environment. However, as temperatures warm across the region, the environment is changing rapidly, and a new Arctic is emerging. In addition to threats to native plants and wildlife, warming conditions can also cause traditional underground ice cellars to melt. These cellars are cut directly into the permafrost to store food. When the permafrost melts, the hard-won caribou, seal, and other meat stored in these cellars can rot and become unusable. Understanding conditions inside cellars and the factors that affect them is critical for determining adaptation options and for building the communities' resilience to the warming conditions. Engineers at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) have developed a conceptual design for an ice cellar featuring an energy-efficient, thermostat-controlled cooling system, a solar- and/or wind-energy power system, and structural supports and ventilation for allowing exchange of cellar and outside air.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Climate Change, Permafrost Melt, Food Insecurity, Community Health, Infrastructure Adaptation Alaska, Arctic Link
ITEP Tribal Climate Change Adaptation Planning Toolkit

This "toolkit" is a collection of templates and other resources developed by the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) to assist tribes in their climate change adaptation planning process. The materials provided are not "one-size-fits-all" solutions, and users are encouraged to modify the materials to better represent the needs and priorities of their own tribe. The primary users of these materials will be the tribe’s climate change working group.

Planning Guide National Link
ITEP: Southwest Tribal Climate Change Project

In August 2010, the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP), at Northern Arizona University, and the USDA Forest Service (USFS) Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) began collaborating on a project focused on tribal climate change issues in the Southwest. Goals of the project include identifying work being done by tribes in Arizona and New Mexico on climate change, assessing their climate change research and information needs, making tribes aware of resources and opportunities that might assist them in their work, and sharing research results of the project with tribes, the USFS and other agencies. This profile provides an overview of the various project activities.

Research, Collaboration, Tribal Southwest Link
Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe Plans for Change on the Olympic Peninsula

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe resides on the northeastern portion of the Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Washington. The Tribe is made up of nearly 600 members, with close to 300 living in the area. Historically, the Jamestown S’Klallam have adapted to both climatic changes as well as radical cultural changes brought on by colonization. In more recent years, the Tribe has identified climate change as a major concern for their community. To better understand the challenges facing the Tribe, and to promote the continued resiliency of their community, the Tribe prepared a Climate Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan. To develop the Plan, the Tribe worked with support from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (IGAP) grant, and in partnership with Adaptation International, a climate change consulting firm, and Washington Sea Grant, a collaborative project between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Washington. The Plan focuses on identifying community adaptation priorities and concerns, and creating a course of action to address them.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Climate Change, Coastal Resilience, Sea Level Rise, Adaptation Washington state Link
Karuk Tribe: Integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge within Natural Resource Management

Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) plays a significant role in the Karuk Tribe’s approach to natural resource management, which is guided by a respect for the relationships between species, their habitats and the belief that fostering ecosystem resilience is critical to ensuring sustainability. In 2010, the Karuk Tribe released a draft Eco-Cultural Resources Management Plan to create a long-term adaptation strategy for the protection, enhancement and utilization of cultural and natural resources. The Eco-Cultural Resources Management Plan establishes a framework for considering a wide range of human and environmental stressors to the Karuk Tribe, including climate change. This profile explores the role of traditional ecological knowledge in the Karuk Tribe’s Eco-Cultural Resource Management Plan, the ways in which this unique approach may contribute to tribal efforts to address climate change, and the importance of the federal-tribal relationship in addressing climate change.

TEK, Adaptation, Tribal, Northwest Link
Local Environmental Observer (LEO Network) Map

LEO is a network of tribal professionals, community experts and scientists who share information about environmental observations. LEO Network features a real-time map so that observations can be viewed relative to one another. LEO Network works to increase collaboration across communities and increase understandings about climate change in Alaska. The LEO Network website includes information about LEO, a map of observations, and data on types of observations currently trending.

Environmental Observation, Community-based Observation, Local Environmental Observation, Climate Impacts, Mapping, Partnerships Alaska Link
Looking to the Future on Alaska’s North Slope

Increasingly accessible resources in the Arctic region have caught the imagination of potential developers. For instance, exploration geologists believe the North Slope of Alaska and the seas around it hold some of the largest remaining deposits of oil, gas, and coal in the United States. Additionally, the region provides habitat for a diverse array of fish, wildlife, and plant resources. A range of individuals and companies are eager to build businesses based on the region’s rich resources. The region has also caught the attention of environmental stewards and groups that monitor climate conditions and impacts. As temperatures rise, melting permafrost endangers infrastructure and modifies landscapes, reduced sea ice necessitates new approaches for subsistence hunters, and increased coastal erosion reduces the expanse of safe, solid land along coasts. To balance conflicting goals of resource development and climate resilience, decision makers need solid scientific information and an informed vision of potential future conditions in the region. In order to understand the potential costs and benefits of developing Arctic resources in a safe and sustainable manner—and to help ensure that residents and ecosystems in the region can adapt as conditions change—federal, state, local, and Native entities in Alaska formed the North Slope Science Initiative (NSSI). The group is authorized to serve as an inter-governmental forum for science collaboration through the Energy Policy Act of 2005. To produce science-based guidance for development or energy resources in the region, NSSI took up the idea of developing detailed scenarios—plausible stories about how the future might unfold—to describe how resource development could occur and what monitoring efforts would be useful to help protect people and the environment as conditions change.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Biodiversity Conservation, Assessment and Planning, Monitoring, Resource Development, Permafrost Melt, Infrastructure Alaska, Arctic Link
Looking to the Future on Alaska’s North Slope

In order to understand the potential costs and benefits of developing Arctic resources in a safe and sustainable manner—and to help ensure that residents and ecosystems in the region can adapt as conditions change—federal, state, local, and Native entities in Alaska formed the North Slope Science Initiative (NSSI). The group is authorized to serve as an inter-governmental forum for science collaboration through the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Climate Change, Development, Biodiversity Conservation Alaska, Arctic Link
Mescalero Apache Tribe Adapts to a Warmer and Drier Climate

The Sacramento Mountains—home of the Mescalero Apache Tribe (MAT) in southern New Mexico—are experiencing a shift to a warmer and drier climate. Local meteorological records reveal that three of the area's worst 10 droughts and some of the highest temperatures ever recorded in the region all occurred since 2011. Trends show that the monsoon season is arriving later in the year, and the average duration and frequency of monsoon rains is decreasing. Additionally, the average duration and intensity of winter snowfall has decreased, reducing the Tribe's water supply and negatively impacting its Ski Apache ski resort. In the face of these environmental challenges, members of the tribe are looking for the best ways to keep their forests and waters healthy. They also have a new interest in growing healthy and sustainable foods for their community. MAT tribal government and managers are working with a range of federal, state, and local government agencies and academia to maintain forest health and resiliency.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Resource Management, Food Insecurity, Forest Health New Mexico Link
Mescalero Apache Tribe: Innovative approaches to climate change adaptation

The Mescalero Apache Tribe of south-central New Mexico has been observing changes in the local climate and ecosystems, including changes in temperature and precipitation and increased frequency and intensity of wildfires in the area due to exceptionally dry forest conditions. This profile provides an overview of various projects that are helping the tribe to adapt and become more resilient to climate change impacts, including landscape conservation projects, renewable energy and energy efficiency, fisheries and water projects, and sustainability initiatives.

Adaptation, Research, Tribal Southwest Link
Moving Forward Together: Building Tribal Resiliency and Partnerships

The four member tribes of the Upper Snake River Tribes (USRT) Foundation have already noticed shifts in species and habitats driven by increasing temperatures and changing precipitation patterns. Such changes have resulted in drying sagebrush steppe habitat, extended wildfire seasons, less winter precipitation falling as snow, earlier spring run-off, lower summer streamflows, higher water temperatures, reduced flow from springs/seeps, proliferation of invasive weeds, and decreasing productivity of rangeland—all of which have the potential to affect the tribes' respective cultures, spirituality, and lifeways. In 2016, the Foundation undertook a collaborative Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA), partnering with external groups Adaptation International, the University of Washington, and Oregon State University. The project evaluated the relative climate change vulnerability of some of the species, habitats, and resource issues that are important and valuable to USRT member tribes.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Ecosystems, Resource Management, Invasive Species, Food Production Idaho, Oregon, Nevada Link
Navajo Nation: Dune Study Offers Clues to Climate Change

limate change coupled with inceasing drought conditions over the last 15 years has had aconsiderable effect on the Navajo Nation, including the reactiviation of sand dune migration and sand dune migration. The sand dunes offer tangible evidence of spiking drought conditions and a glimpse into the future of an unstable ecosystem and the effects on sheep herding and other familiar ways of life.

Drought, Research, Tribal Southwest, Four Corners Link
Navajo Nation: Hotter, Drier Climate Puts Sand Dunes on the Move

The Native Navajo people of the southwestern United States are facing an increasingly dry climate. In a region that receives an average of only six inches of precipitation per year, average warming of just two degrees Fahrenheit can significantly increase evaporation and loss of water through plants, reducing available moisture by a third. Alone, this drying process has the potential to fundamentally alter local ecosystems. When combined with a decrease in winter snowfall that feeds year-round streams, the impacts of drying can multiply. Roughly one-third of the Navajo Reservation is covered with sand dunes. In the already windy and increasingly arid environment, vegetation that can grow on dunes withers, and dunes can become mobile—obliterating everything in their path. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are now conducting research on the dunes. This work can provide critical data to the Native peoples of the region as they consider how they might respond. Some Navajo Nation communities are also working with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Northern Arizona University Environmental Education Outreach Program (EEOP) to provide education and to test methods to that may help stabilize sand dunes.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction, Water, Drought Arizona Link
Nez Perce Tribe: Carbon Sequestration Program

In the mid to late 1990’s, the Nez Perce Forestry & Fire Management Division began developing a carbon offset strategy to market Carbon Sequestration Credits. This profile describes the tribe’s initial trial afforestation project, and their strategies for reinvesting revenue from the sale of carbon to invest in additional afforestation projects, wildlife rehabilitation and forest development.

Carbon Sequestration, Carbon Offset, Tribal Northwest Link
Northern Cheyenne Tribe: A Climate Showcase Community

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe of southeastern Montana takes climate change seriously and is doing something about it. The tribe has been progressing on a showcase demonstration project on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 metric tons CO2e annually through energy retrofits of the Tribal Environmental Protection Department (EPD) building. This project is supported by a $200,000, two-year grant provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 through its Climate Showcase Community Program.

Mitigation, Tribal Midwest, Plains Link
Oglala Lakota Nation: Oyate Omniciyé | Oglala Lakota Plan

A consortium of dedicated Oglala Lakota programs and organizations was awarded nearly a million dollars in the form of a HUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grant to pursue a path towards creating a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development for the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota. The planning effort is being led by the non-profit Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation and includes numerous partners from within the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Tribe, as well as many non-governmental public and private partners. The Tribe also became the first official Tribal member of ICLEI USA–Local Governments for Sustainability. By joining, the Tribe made a voluntary pledge to mitigate climate change, seek adaptation measures, and promote sustainability. Ultimately, a Climate Action Plan for the Tribe will be developed and with the goal of inclusion in the overall Oyate Omniciyé | Oglala Lakota Plan.

Mitigation, Adaptation, Tribal Plains, Midwest Link
Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point: Climate Change Impacts and Strategies

Steve Crawford, director of the Passamaquoddy Tribes' Environmental Department and chair of the Natural Resources Committee of the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) cooperative, is working with local tribes to spread the word about climate change and addressing what tribes can do through adaptation and miitigation. Steve is working with Passamaquoddy Tribe on alternative energy and fuel sources, and feels immediate action is required to reverse the warming process.

Adaptation, Mitigation, Education, Energy, Tribal Northeast Link
Pueblo of Jemez: Leading the Way to a Renewable Future

The Pueblo of Jemez in New Mexico is engaged in several renewable energy projects, including developing a four-megawatt solar power plant, exploring the feasibility of developing its geothermal resources, and designing a biomass boiler for its visitor center that will use waste from forest thinning projects. The tribe is also providing education and training to its youth and community members about renewable energy.

Renewable energy, Education, Tribal Southwest Link
Pueblo of Tesuque: Water Scarcity and Fire Management in a Changing Environment

The Pueblo of Tesuque is located in the desert Southwest, approximately 10 miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The traditional Tesuque form of farming has long been hailed as a benchmark for sustainable agriculture in arid environments. Unfortunately, the climate change-induced decline in regional precipitation has made traditional farming more challenging for the Tesuque people. In addition to ongoing concerns about surface water volume and access, the Pueblo of Tesuque Environment Department has to contend with regional fire hazards, which are predicted to intensify with climate change. In light of these climate change-driven environmental concerns, the Pueblo of Tesuque Environment Department has turned its attention toward (1) watershed management and planning and (2) wildland restoration.

Drought, Management, Tribal Southwest Link