Final Report for Supporting Cooperation Between Tribes and Climate Scientists in the Northeast Region

Caldwell, C., 2018, Supporting Cooperation Between Tribes and Climate Scientists in the Northeast Region.
Year Published
Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

Indigenous peoples and Tribal communities have lived in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region for millenia. Throughout this time, they have lived through great uncertainty through colonialism and assimilation periods. Yet, the effort to make meaningful plans for their communities is now threatened by the uncertainty of changing trends in the environment, such as shifting lake levels and patterns of precipitation. These changes create potential financial burdens on Tribal governments and stresses on Tribal cultural practices such hunting, fishing, and harvesting of subsistence and medicinal plants. Our project focused on developing climate scenario planning activities led by the Tribes and Tribal members we worked with, and supported by U.S. Department of Interior led Northeast Climate Science Center resources to provide relevant climate science information. Over the course of the project we were able to engage at various levels with up to six Tribal contacts in the region, either directly or through other activities that included Tribes represented from the NE region. Through our direct work with Tribes we were able to provide temporary support as Tribes either started or continued climate adaptation planning work. The process was initially focused on working with Tribal decision making bodies (e.g. Natural Resource Departments, Conservation Commissions) but also worked within community activities to the extent requested by the Tribal representatives. In addition, we worked with Tribal students and professionals who participated in other events such as, a Tribal Climate Camp, Indigenous Planning Summer Institute, and a Tribally led regional climate change monitoring network. In all cases, the effort to provide necessary information to advance Tribal climate adaptation planning needs resulted in the identification of specific resource issues. The integration of different NECSC climate science resources primarily provided localized climate profiles based on these identified resources.