Climate resilience is not a new concept to tribal communities. Indigenous people have experienced and adapted to extreme climate shifts for millennia — and continue to do so. However, global climate models indicate that Native Nations are at risk of experiencing disruptions outside the limits of their (and their ancestors’) experience. We will work to build approaches that equitably join Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with western scientific data and models of global climate change, risks, and impacts. When woven together, these multiple ways of knowing provide a more complete understanding of agroecosystem resilience than those solely derived from reductionist methods of western science.
We are building data partnerships between Native Nations and the USDA Climate Hubs focused on reducing barriers to access by tribal resource managers, Extension faculty/agents, and teachers and youth education leaders. Key to this activity is developing guidance around the equitable sharing of climate-related data and traditional knowledge. The Native Climate tribal data sovereignty resource guide will summarize data protection policies, procedures, and permissions of tribes in the region, to help Hubs and partner organizations respectfully share (or not) tribal data and TEK.
Native Climate researchers are also updating climate-agricultural projections for Native Nations across the west to support tribal climate-ag adaptation planning and actions. These data will be made accessible through the Climate Hubs and shared on the Native Climate website and other organization communication platforms. These updated projections — together with updated climate risk assessments and impact reports, will be distributed via a new Native Climate Toolkit to support adaptation across Indian Country.