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
Quinault Indian Nation Plans for Village Relocation

The homelands of the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) are located on the Pacific coast of Washington's Olympic Peninsula—the tribe's culture and economy depend on the bounty of the land, forests, rivers, and ocean. With its location on the Pacific Ocean, the risk and uncertainty of tsunami has been, and continues to be, ever-present. Today, though, the Quinault community faces a different type of threat to its daily life: impacts from climate change. With support from the community, QIN leadership made a difficult decision: they would begin planning to relocate the lower portion of Taholah to higher ground. With support from a Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS) grant from the Administration for Native Americans, efforts were initiated to develop a master plan by 2016.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Disaster Risk Reduction, Coastal, Relocation Washington state, Olympic Peninsula Link
Relocating Kivalina

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at more than twice the rate of the global average. Results include violent ocean storms, flooding, and erosion beneath the homes of Kivalina—impacts that have been traumatic to the barrier island's Alaskan Iñupiaq community. Sea ice that once protected the island from winter storms no longer forms early enough in the fall to prevent rising waters and storm surge from reaching the island's shores. Patchy sea ice also makes winter travel and hunting difficult and dangerous. Residents and others are making concerted efforts to move the community to safety.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Permafrost Melt, Infrastructure Damage, Community Health, Relocation Alaska. Arctic Link
Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe: Climate Change and Adaptation Planning for Haudenosaunee Tribes

Tribes are beginning to identify potential climate change impacts on their cultural and environmental resources and to develop climate change adaptation plans. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, located in New York and Canada, is in the early stages of adaptation planning. The Tribe is bringing together the Haudenosaunee decisions makers from the Tuscarora Nation, Seneca Nation, Tonawanda Nation, Onondaga Nation, Cayuga Nation, and Oneida Nation in New York as well as the Mohawk Nation and Shinnecock Nation to identify priority resources that should be considered in addressing climate change. The goal of the Haudenosaunee and other Tribes is to combine knowledge of traditional cultural resource values with local knowledge of recent climate changes. The ultimate goal of this unique strategy is to bring together Tribal decision makers to share information that will lead to practical planning.

Adaptation, Tribal Northeast Link
Suquamish Build Resilience to Ocean Acidification Through Education

Today, seafood, game, and traditional plants remain essential to the Suquamish culture and diet. Around 20 percent of the Tribe's members help support their families by earning income from the harvest of fish and shellfish, and proceeds from geoduck clam harvests support elders' programs. However, decades of development have significantly degraded these species' habitats, which reduces their ability to withstand predicted impacts of climate change. In 2010, biologists working in the Tribe's Fisheries Department began discussing the threats of ocean acidification and climate change with the Suquamish Shellfish Committee. In consultation with the Shellfish Committee, the Tribal Council adopted two strategies for immediate action: (1) use the K–12 educational system to help change human behaviors that harm ecosystems; and (2) develop computerized zooplankton imaging and identification tools researchers can use to detect and monitor changes at the base of the marine food web. The Tribe is also pursuing another strategy to study the impacts of ocean acidification: they are building tools that facilitate the visual study of zooplankton.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Fish Health, Water Health, Ocean Acidification, Education Washington state, Puget Sound Link
Swinomish Climate Change Initiative

In 2007, the Swinomish Tribe passed a Climate Change proclamation in response to growing concerns about potential impacts of climate change on the Swinomish Indian Reservation. This profile highlights the project climate change impacts for climate change, their planning process for the impact assessment and action plan development, as well as key partners and project successes and challenges.

Coastal, Adaptation, Tribal Northwest Link
The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe Undertakes Innovative Action to Reduce the Causes of Climate Change

The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe—a federally recognized Native American tribe in California—was one of 16 communities selected as a 2015–2016 Climate Action Champion by the Obama Administration for exceptional work in response to climate change. The Tribe began its strategic climate action planning in 2008 and has become a regional leader in greenhouse gas reductions and community resiliency measures. To date, the Tribe has reduced energy consumption from 2008 levels by 35 percent and has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2018, utilizing a range of approaches—including aggressive energy efficiency upgrades, developing on-site renewable energy (biomass, solar, fuel cells, grid battery storage), and switching to green fuels (electricity and biodiesel).

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Energy Production, Green Fuels, Sustainable Housing, Disaster Risk Reduction Northern California Link
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Combine Mitigation with Capacity Building

Members of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa believe that it is the obligation of the community to preserve and protect cultural resources for seven generations into the future. Tribal leaders and staff have committed to reducing the Band’s contributions to the greenhouse gases that lead to warming through developing and promoting projects and policies that advance sustainability and energy efficiency. In 2007, the Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee ratified the Kyoto Protocol, pledging to obtain 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Food Insecurity, Flooding, Energy Production Minnesota Link
The Karuk’s Innate Relationship with Fire: Adapting to Climate Change on the Klamath

Members of the Karuk Tribe in northern California maintain that the age-old tradition of prescribed burning holds the answer to climate adaptation planning in the Klamath River range. Fire is foundational to the Karuk Tribe, who live and manage 1.48 million acres of their aboriginal lands along the Klamath and Salmon Rivers in northern California. By removing accumlated fuels, fire makes room for new growth and change. This renewal helps ensure the quality of traditional foods and cultural materials and serves as a medium of cultural education. Ceremonies surrounding fire strengthen the Tribe's social networks and enhance its members' physical and mental health.

U.S. climate resilience toolkit, climate change, human health, tribal sovereignty, self-determination, adaptation, mitigation, management, prescribed burn, wildfire, prevention, technical. climate science, TEK, cultural resources, U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, California, Pacific Northwest Coast, Pacific Northwest, Northwest Link
The Lummi Nation: Pursuing Clean Renewable Energy

The Lummi Nation has launched a number of renewable energy projects to reduce its environmental impact and to contribute to its goal of energy self-sufficiency. These projects include conducting a wind energy development feasibility assessment, lighting a walking trail with solar LEDs, installing a geothermal heat pump system for a new administrative building, and developing a strategic energy plan to coordinate future efforts. This profile provides detailed information on the wind energy development feasibility assessment project and also examines the opportunities and motivation that inspired the Lummi Nation to explore the options for renewable energy on their tribal lands.

Renewable energy, Wind Energy, Tribal Northwest Link
The Quileute Tribe: Navigating a Sea of Change

The people of the Quileute Tribe of the Quileute Reservation, located on the Pacific Coast of Washington's Olympic Peninsula at the mouth of the Quillayute River, have for centuries depended on the sea and the rivers that flow through the community from the coastal mountains. But environmental pressures likely tied to climate change have diminished the tribe's traditional food sources, at times pushing some species below harvestable levels, including salmonids whose migration cycles have been disrupted by changes in snowfall patterns. Other problems have arisen as a result of shifts in precipitation and average temperatures, storm intensity, and changing marine chemistry. As climate change continues to impact the Quileute community, tribal members are rethinking not only their means of sustenance but their geographic location. Federal legislation in 2012 gave the small tribe an additional square mile of higher land to which they are slowly relocating parts of their community—a limited but possibly critical option.

Food insecurity, Flooding, Shoreline Erosion, Wildfires, Relocation, Coasts Pacific Northwest, Olympic Peninsula, Washignton State Link
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Prepares for Climate Change Impacts

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Skagit River System Cooperative, are developing tools that assess future projections of sea level rise and wave impacts to nearshore habitats. Community members will take an active role in determining community health impacts based on the projections using the Indigenous Health Indicators (see link at right). The Swinomish community will use methods they piloted and tested in 2013 to (1) assess future impacts to shellfish, juvenile salmon rearing habitats, and other culturally important nearshore areas, and (2) evaluate community health implications based on the projected nearshore impacts. Results will guide decision making to mutually benefit ecosystem protection and restoration, coastal hazards mitigation, community health, and adaptation to climate change.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Coasts, Sea-level rise, Food Health, Community Health Washington state Link
The Tohono O'odham: Desert People in a Changing Environment

Since the beginning of O’odham history, the Tohono O'odham of southern Arizona and northern Mexico have adapted to high summer heat and water scarcity. Until a century ago the tribe lived in the mountains, descending to desert lowlands from spring through late summer to capture monsoon rains and practice "flood farming" of corn, squash, beans and melons, and to gather desert foods that include cholla buds, saguaro fruit and tepary beans. In recent years, as climate change disrupts the tribe's traditional and modern ways of living, the O'odham people are examining short- and long-term solutions through the development of a Climate Change Adaptation Plan. The draft plan is under review and scheduled for release in the summer of 2017. Its final details are not yet available, but the plan will address a variety of challenges that impact the tribe's communities and O’odham culture.

Drought, Water insecurity, Rising Temperatures, Community Health, Adaptation Arizona, New Mexico Link
Tribal Connections - US Forest Service Indian Lands Map Viewer

The U.S. Forest Service released Tribal Connections, a new online interactive mapping tool that shows how lands managed by the agency connect or overlap with current tribal trust lands and lands tribes exchanged with the federal government prior to 1900. This reference tool will help Forest Service employees and the public better understand historical treaties and the role they play in making current land management decisions. Tribal Connections contains multiple layers that include information on forests and grasslands managed by the agency, lands owned by tribes and historical data on lands ceded by treaties. Nearly 4,000 miles of shared boundaries between tribal lands and Forest Service-administered/owned land are identified.

Forest Service, GIS, mapping, tribal trust lands, treaties Link
Tulalip Tribes: Saving Their Sacred Salmon

Fisheries managers identified pollution from manure runoff at local dairy farms as a major cause of salmon mortality. Historically, many farmers held the view that tribal fishing rights imposed limits on their farms and increased operation costs. The Tulalip Tribes sought a mutually beneficial solution to resolve this conflict. Collaboration among the Sno/Sky Agricultural Alliance, Northwest Chinook Recovery, and Tulalip Energy Corporation eventually established Qualco Energy as a shared energy cooperative. The group arranged for area farmers to collect livestock manure and agricultural waste in tanks, keeping it out of the streams. The waste products are then fed into an anaerobic biodigester to generate methane gas. The clean-burning methane is sold to produce green energy, and the digester effluent is stored in lagoons and returned to the farmers for irrigating their fields. The salmon-friendly energy is then sold to the Snohomish County Public Utility District. In 2010, these groups collaborated to launch the Sustainable Lands Strategy (SLS) to build resilience through cooperative planning at the basin scale.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Fish Health, Water, Biodiversity Conservation, Energy Production Washington state Link
Tuscarora: Drawing on Traditional Teaching to Confront a Changing Climate

The Tuscarora Nation is one of Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, commonly referred to as the Iroquois, all based in New York state. Each Nation in the confederacy has taken steps to address climate change impacts and promote cultural solidity by tapping their traditional knowledge base. The Tuscarora began an Environmental program that has addressed an array of bio-cultural concerns through innovative programs that draw on traditional knowledge. Projects include protecting the community's traditional food base through a seed-banking program and community-based agriculture, conducting a comprehensive GIS analysis of the tribe's natural resources, land-restoration projects, a program to pass cultural knowledge and wisdom to the youth, and sustainability efforts.

Adaptation, TEK, Tribal Northeast Link
Vulnerability of Coastal Louisiana Tribes in a Climate Change Context

Living among the bayous in southern Louisiana, coastal tribes have a long history of vulnerability to and impacts from a range of environmental and human-caused events, including storms, subsidence, land sinking and shrinking, sea-level rise and oil spills. These events have posed uncommon challenges to these indigenous communities. In January 2012, several tribal communities from coastal Louisiana (including Grand Bayou Village, Grand Caillou/Dulac, Isle de Jean Charles and Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribes) met to “share knowledge, support, cultural connectivity and adaption strategies” in response to the significant environmental changes they face. This meeting, convened by the tribes and attended by the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), brought together local tribal members, national tribal leaders, faith leaders, government agency representatives, and resource specialists to share information on the various opportunities, resources, and programs available to tribal communities experiencing the impacts of large-scale environmental change.

Adaptation, Collaboration, Tribal Gulf Coast, Southeast Link
Yukon Delta Villages Document Baseline Environmental Data

The Yukon River drains a vast and diverse area of western Canada and Alaska. Where it approaches Alaska’s southwest coast on the Bering Sea, the great river spreads out and meanders across the Yukon Delta, a broad, flat region of wetlands and tundra underlain by permafrost. For thousands of years, Native Alaskans of Yup’ik and Cup’ik cultures have flourished in this unique region, sustained by hunting, fishing, and gathering the region’s diverse plant life. To help residents document past and current conditions across the delta—and use that information to anticipate and adapt to future changes—a group of scientists from government agencies and universities collaborated with community members from four indigenous communities. In the winter and spring of 2014, researchers and community members gathered observations in a project called Strategic Needs of Water on the Yukon (SNOWY).

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Community Resilience, Social Equity, Assessment and Planning Western Alaska Link

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