Climate change and indigenous peoples: a synthesis of current impacts and experiences. A growing body of literature examines the vulnerability, risk, resilience, and adaptation of indigenous peoples to climate change. This synthesis of literature brings together research pertaining to the impacts of climate change on sovereignty, culture, health, and economies that are currently being experienced by Alaska Native and American Indian tribes and other indigenous communities in the United States. The knowledge and science of how climate change impacts are affecting indigenous peoples contributes to the development of policies, plans, and programs for adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This report defines and describes the key frameworks that inform indigenous understandings of climate change impacts and pathways for adaptation and mitigation, namely, tribal sovereignty and self-determination, culture and cultural identity, and indigenous community health indicators. It also provides a comprehensive synthesis of climate knowledge, science, and strategies that indigenous communities are exploring, as well as an understanding of the gaps in research on these issues. This literature synthesis is intended to make a contribution to future efforts such as the 4th National Climate Assessment, while serving as a resource for future research, tribal and agency climate initiatives, and policy development. https://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/53156
Vinyeta, K., Whyte, K. and Lynn, K., 2016. Indigenous masculinities in a changing climate: vulnerability and resilience in the United States. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2800469
Tribal Climate Change Principles: Responding to Federal Policies and Actions to Address Climate Change. This policy paper sets forth eight principles to guide the federal government in the development and implementation of administrative and legislative actions related to Indigenous Peoples and climate change. Resolutions about these principles have also been adopted by the National Congress of American Indians, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Climate change through an intersectional lens: gendered vulnerability and resilience in indigenous communities in the United States. The scientific and policy literature on climate change increasingly recognizes the vulnerabilities of indigenous communities and their capacities for resilience. The role of gender in defining how indigenous peoples experience climate change in the United States is a research area that deserves more attention. Advancing climate change threatens the continuance of many indigenous cultural systems that are based on reciprocal relationships with local plants, animals, and ecosystems. These reciprocal relationships, and the responsibilities associated with them, are gendered in many indigenous communities. American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians experience colonization based on intersecting layers of oppression in which race and gender are major determinants. The coupling of climate change with settler colonialism is the source of unique vulnerabilities. At the same time, gendered knowledge and gender-based activism and initiatives may foster climate change resilience. In this literature synthesis, we cross-reference international literature on gender and climate change, literature on indigenous peoples and climate change, and literature describing gender roles in Native America, in order to build an understanding of how gendered indigeneity may influence climate change vulnerability and resilience in indigenous communities in the United States.
Vinyeta, Kirsten; Powys Whyte, Kyle; Lynn, Kathy. 2015. Climate change through an intersectional lens: gendered vulnerability and resilience in indigenous communities in the United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-923. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 72 p. http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr923.pdf
Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives.
The Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges (TKs) in Climate Change Initiatives are an informational resource for tribes, agencies, and organizations across the United States interested in understanding traditional knowledges in the context of climate change. The Third National Climate Assessment issued in May 2014 contained a chapter dedicated to the impact of climate change on tribal peoples. In light of the increasing recognition of the significance of traditional knowledges (TKs) in relation to climate change, a self-organized, informal group of indigenous persons, staff of indigenous governments and organizations, and experts with experience working with issues concerning traditional knowledges (The Climate and Traditional Knowledges Workgroup – CTKW), felt compelled to develop a framework to increase understanding of issues relating to access and protection of TKs in climate initiatives and interactions between holders of TKs and non-tribal partners. These Guidelines are not intended to promote the exchange of Traditional Knowledges. Rather, they are to increase understanding of the role of and protections for TKs in climate initiatives, provide provisional guidance to those engaging in efforts that encompass TKs and increase mutually beneficial and ethical interactions between tribes and non-tribal partners. The Guidelines are a work in progress and intended to spur active deliberation and discussion for further development. For more information and a question/comment form, visit: http://climatetkw.wordpress.com/.
Review of 2014 Federal Agency Adaptation Plans. Federal agency adaptation plans have the potential to impact tribes in a variety of ways, whether through changes in policies pertaining to tribes, or by altering management of resources that are of importance to tribes. This report examines how federal agency climate adaptation plans are addressing tribal issues and concerns.
Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for Our Landscapes, Waters, and Communities assesses the state of knowledge about key climate impacts and consequences to various sectors and communities in the Pacific Northwest. It draws on a wealth of peer-reviewed literature, earlier state-level assessment reports conducted for Washington (2009) and Oregon (2010), as well as a risk framing workshop. As an assessment, it summarizes the key climate change topics as reflected in the growing body of Northwest climate change science, impacts, and adaptation literature currently available. http://occri.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/ClimateChangeInTheNorthwest.pdf
Exploring the Role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Climate Change Initiatives
Indigenous populations are projected to face disproportionate impacts as a result of climate change in comparison to non-indigenous populations. For this reason, many American Indian and Alaska Native tribes are identifying and implementing culturally appropriate strategies to assess climate impacts and adapt to projected changes. Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), as the indigenous knowledge systems are collectively referred to as, has the potential to play a central role in both indigenous and non-indigenous climate change initiatives. The detection of environmental changes, the development of strategies to adapt to these changes, and the implementation of sustainable land-management principles are all important climate action items that can be informed by TEK. Although there is a significant body of literature on traditional knowledge, this synthesis examines literature that specifically explores the relationship between TEK and climate change. The synthesis describes the potential role of TEK in climate change assessment and adaptation efforts. It also identifies some of the challenges and benefits associated with merging TEK with Western science, and reviews the way in which federal policies and administrative practices facilitate or challenge the incorporation of TEK in climate change initiatives. The synthesis highlights examples of how tribes and others are including TEK into climate research, education, and resource planning and explores strategies to incorporate TEK into climate change policy, assessments, and adaptation efforts at national, regional, and local levels. http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr879.pdf
Tribal Climate Change Funding Guide and A Guide For Tribal Leaders on U.S. Climate Change Programs
The funding guide is intended to provide up-to-date information on grants and programs that may assist tribes in addressing climate change through a broad range of sectors. You can search this guide with keywords in the descriptions bar, or use the drop down menu to search by category, agency or geography. You can refine your search by using multiple drop-down menus and/or search terms in the description category. The Guide for Tribal Leaders summarizes key U.S. government programs addressing climate change, opportunities for tribal engagement and contacts for each agency. In addition to its immediate value to tribes and their partners, this information will provide important groundwork for research on understanding and improving the tribal consultation processes in the context of climate change. This guide also begins to include tribal, academic and non-governmental agencies and programs to assist tribes in addressing climate change. Both the funding guide and guide for tribal leaders are now available in an online, searchable database at: http://envs.uoregon.edu/tribal-climate/. If you would like to edit the information for an organization included in the guides or submit information for additional organizations or funding programs, please contact Kathy Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fostering Tribal Engagement in Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives
This discussion paper describes the policy language related to tribal engagement in Climate Science Centers (CSC) and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC), examines the Government-to-Government relationship in context of CSCs and LCCs, and discusses the benefits to Tribes and the federal government in having strong tribal engagement in these initiatives. It is intended to foster dialogue about the need for and opportunities to meaningfully engage Tribes in the implementation of these initiatives.
Tribal Climate Change Fact Sheets
The PNW Tribal Climate Change Project is collaborating with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals on 2-page Fact Sheets on climate change impacts and adaptation: www4.nau.edu/itep/climatechange/tcc_SWProj.asp. Fact sheets developed by Kirsten Vinyeta with the PNW Tribal Climate Change project include:
A Tribal Planning Framework – Climate Change Adaptation Strategies by Sector
Pro-active strategies in planning for the potential impacts from climate change can assist indigenous communities in being resilient in the face of change. This framework is intended to serve as a resource for American Indian and Alaska Native tribes developing tribal climate change adaptation plans or incorporating climate change adaptation strategies into existing tribal plans and initiatives, including strategic plans or natural resource management plans. This framework can be used in concert with other planning resources, such as the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals’ (ITEP) Tribal Climate Change Adaptation Plan Template. Additional information is available through ITEP’s fact sheets at: http://www4.nau.edu/itep/climatechange/tcc_SWProj.asp. To download the planning framework, click here: Tribal_CC_framework_April_2013.
The Government-to-Government Relationship in a Changing Climate: A review of federal consultation policies
The goal of this research is to examine government-to-government relationships in the context of climate change. This report is intended to provide information and tools to increase the effectiveness of federal-tribal consultation in addressing climate change impacts, and in the management of culturally important resources. The report examines the scope of federal consultation policies in the context of climate change and highlights specific policies that have the potential to strengthen federal-tribal efforts to address climate change. To download the draft, click here: consultation_report_2-22-2012
Social Vulnerability and Equity in the United States in the Context of Climate Change: Synthesis of Literature
The effects of climate change are expected to be more severe for some segments of society than others because of geographic location, the degree of association with climate-sensitive environments, and unique cultural, economic, or political characteristics of particular landscapes and human populations. Social vulnerability and equity in the context of climate change are important because some populations may have less capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate-related hazards and effects. Such populations may be disproportionately affected by climate change. This synthesis of literature illustrates information about the socioeconomic, political, health, and cultural effects of climate change on socially vulnerable populations in the United States, with some additional examples in Canada. Through this synthesis, social vulnerability, equity, and climate justice are defined and described, and key issues, themes, and considerations that pertain to the effects of climate change on socially vulnerable populations are identified. The synthesis reviews what available science says about social vulnerability and climate change and documents the emergence of issues not currently addressed in academic literature. In so doing, the synthesis identifies knowledge gaps and questions for future research. To download the brief, click here: pnw_gtr838.
Climate Change Impacts on Tribes’ Off-Reservation Resources: Legal Avenues for Protection
This paper seeks to explore existing legal avenues available to tribes to protect their resources in order to prevent such an “ecological removal.” By examining legal strategies that have been used to replace both on-reservation resources and treaty-protected off-reservation resources, we gain insight into avenues for protection that may be cultivated to protect additional off-reservation resources, including traditional subsistence resources that are vulnerable to climate change. This paper was developed through the University of Oregon Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program as a result of the Tribal Climate Change Forum: The Role of Tribal Sovereignty, and Tribal Needs and Opportunities in Climate Change Policy and Action, which was held on October 15-16, 2009, at the Many Nations Longhouse, University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. For questions about this paper, contact Kathy Lynn at email@example.com.
Ellen Donoghue, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. Presentation at Portland State University and Pacific Northwest Research Station Seminar on social vulnerability and climate change: http://web.pdx.edu/~rmschell/index_files/Page355.htm
PAST PROJECT EVENTS
September 2009 Tribal Climate Change Policy Training
The Tribal Climate Change Policy Training convened tribal decision-makers and staff from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Northern California to provide education on the technical aspects of climate change policy, as well as the opportunities that tribes have to engage in climate change policy and action at tribal, national, and international levels. The training was held at the University of Oregon in Portland and convened by Sustainable Northwest, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, and the University of Oregon. Full proceedings and presentations are available by request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 2009 Tribal Climate Change Forum
The Tribal Climate Change Forum focused on the Role Of Tribal Sovereignty, and Tribal Needs and Opportunities in Climate Change Policy and Action. The Forum was held at the University of Oregon, Many Nations Longhouse, Eugene, Oregon October 15-16, 2009. The Forum was convened by the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station and the University of Oregon Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program. To download proceedings from the Forum, click here: TCC-Forum-proceedings-12-2-09v2
Tribal Wildfire Resource Guide
The Tribal Wildfire Resource Guide provides an overview of federal forest/fire policies and authorities, federal fire-planning programs and grant resources that may help tribes develop or strengthen fire-management programs. The Guide also highlights case studies from tribes around the United States that are actively engaged in planning or implementing fire-management programs. Click here to download the PDF: TWRG_final
Northwest Forest Plan – Tribal Effectiveness Monitoring
This website provides links to the Northwest Forest Plan report summarizing the effectiveness of the Federal-Tribal relationship between 1994 and 2008 on federal lands affected by the Northwest Forest Plan. The primary objectives of the tribal monitoring program are to address the following questions:
- For those trust resources identified in treaties with American Indians, what are their conditions and trends?
- Are sites of religious and cultural heritage adequately protected?
- Do American Indians have access to and use of forest species, resources, and places important for cultural, subsistence, or economic reasons, particulary those identified in treaties?
Gary Harris (tech ed). 2011. Northwest Forest Plan – The First 15 Years [1994-2008]: Effectiveness of the Federal-Tribal Relationship. Tech. Paper R6-RPM-TP-01-2011. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region
This monitoring report documents the effects of implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan (the Plan) on the relationship between Federally-Recognized American Indian Tribes and federal land management agencies within the range of the northern spotted owl. The planning period covered in this report is 2004-2008. The monitoring protocol for this planning period was developed by the Tribal Monitoring Advisory Group (TMAG) after publication of “Northwest Forest Plan – The First 10 years (1994-2003) Effectiveness of the Federal-Tribal Relationship” (R6-RPM-TP-02-2006) in 2006. The protocol was implemented and reports were prepared under federal contracts; one for Oregon and Washington (Resource Innovations, University of Oregon) and another for Northern California (the Intertribal Timber Council and the California Indian Forestry and Fire Management Council). These reports are presented in their entirety as received from the contractors. The Oregon/Washington report is offered first and includes the executive summary. http://www.reo.gov/monitoring/reports/15yr-report/tribal/index.shtml