23-2 “Climate Commitment” Resource Guide

Volume 23, No. 2 - Winter 2011
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In researching information for the Resource Guide for Climate Change in Indian Country—as it relates  specifically to Indigenous peoples of the United States and Canada—I discovered that there isn’t much information out there yet!

This specific body of literature, research, and resources is only beginning to ignite across the country as Indigenous scholars, activists, and wisdom keepers begin this dialogue within their communities.  The voices of Indigenous peoples, from tribal college students and tribal resource managers to tribal council members and concerned elders, need to be heard during the onset of this critical time in our existence.

As I write this article, papers are being drafted, community meetings are being held, research projects are being proposed, and visions and dreams are being articulated.  There is a lot of energy in the air as we mobilize our hearts and minds around this issue of climate change.

This Resource Guide includes online resources, organizations, degree programs, books, and peer-reviewed journal articles specifically related to North American Indigenous peoples, but these are only stepping stones toward a much greater effort by Indigenous peoples worldwide to assert their sovereignty and self-determination and share their earth-centered wisdom as responsible global citizens of an impacted Earth.

Online Resources

Tribal Climate Newsletter

Published by Northern Arizona University, this is the best up-to-date monthly newsletter.  It provides information on current issues in climate change and renewable energies, conferences, proceedings, educational resources, webinars, and funding opportunities.  This newsletter is highly recommended.

The United States Global Change Research Program

The organization provides the current research on climate change from the U.S. federal government.  The USGCRP is responsible for producing the National Climate Assessment, which will include perspectives and observations from Native Americans and tribal governments in the United States.

Tribal Climate Change Network

This is a collaborative project between the University of Oregon Environmental Studies Program and the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Climate Change and the Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations Project

Indigenous Environmental Network

Global Green Indigenous Film Festival, National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC)

Formerly known as Indigenous Earth Film Festival

Climate Wizard by the Nature Conservancy

This interactive climate model allows one to play with different climate scenarios to better understand climate simulation modeling.  This is a user-friendly website.

NASA Native Peoples-Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop – Final Report

This was the historic meeting that brought climate scientists and North American Indigenous peoples together for the first time to discuss the changing environment.  The observations of Indigenous peoples, especially those from the Arctic regions, were acknowledged by the scientific community.  The entire final report can be downloaded via pdf from the U.S. Global Change Research Program website (www.usgcrp.gov).


American Indian Alaska Native Climate Change Working Group

The American Indian Alaska Native Climate Change Working Group was founded in 2006 by Dr. Daniel Wildcat of Haskell Indian Nations University.  This is a proactive gathering of tribal college students, faculty, researchers and government officials who are working to identify climate change impacts to tribal lands and indigenous peoples.

Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge in the Arctic (ELOKA)
ELOKA, hosted by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, CO, facilitates the collection, preservation, exchange and use of local observations and knowledge of the Arctic.

Degree Programs

Climate Change minor at the University of Montana in Missoula
This is the first degree offered by any university that directly focuses on climate change issues, both locally and globally.  Founded by Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Steven Running, Ph.D., this Climate Change minor degree can be coupled with any undergraduate degree offering — biology, journalism, geography, sociology, forestry, or the fine arts.

Tribal College Climate Change Course Series

American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) and Climate Literacy Network.For more information, contact AIHEC: http://aihec.org/


Kronik, J. & Dorte V. (Eds.) (2010). Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank Publications.

Kronk, E. and Abate, R. (Eds.) (Scheduled for Fall 2012). Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples and the Search for Legal Remedies. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Nelson, M. K. (Ed.) (2008). Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future. Bear and Company.

Shearer, Christine (2011). Kivalina: A Climate Change Story. Haymarket Books.

Wildcat, Daniel. (2009). Red Alert: Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge. Fulcrum Publishing.

Journal Articles and Reports

Ashford, G. & Castledent, J. (2001, June). Inuit Observations on Climate Change, Final Report.

International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Barreiro, J. (1998, Dec. 31). Hemispheric Digest: Native Lands and Global Warming. Native Americas. Vol. XV (Issue 4).

Battin, J., Wiley, M.W., Ruckelshaus, M.H., Palmer, R.N., Korb, E., Bartz, K.K., Imaki, H. (2007). Projected impacts of climate change on salmon habitat restoration.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Bierbaum, Rosina et al. (2007). Confronting Climate Change: Avoiding the Unmanageable and Managing the Unavoidable: Report prepared for United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. United Nations & Sigma Xi: Scientific Expert Group on Climate Change (SEG), www.unfoundation.org/files/pdf/2007/SEG_Report.pdf

Bigelow, G. E. (2005). Researching Catastrophic Environmental Changes on Northern Coastlines: A Geoarchaeological Case Study from the Shetland Islands. Arctic Anthropology, 42 (1),88-102.

Collins, G., Hiza-Redsteer, M., Hayes, M., Svoboda, M., Ferguson, D., Pulwarty, R., Kluck, D., and Alvord, C.  (2010).  Climate change, drought and early warning on Western Native lands workshop report.  www.drought.gov/imageserver/NIDIS/workshops/tribal/docs/2010_flagstaff/NIDIS_Jackson_Hole_Report_Mar2010.pdf

Cordalis, D. & Suagee, D.B.  (2008, Winter). The effects of climate change on American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.  Natural resources and environment, 22 (3).

Dickson, C. (2003, Oct.). The Impact of Climate Change on Traditional Food. Polar Environmental Times 3.

Ford, J.D.  (2004, Dec.). A Framework for Assessing the Vulnerability of Communities in the Canadian Arctic to Risks Associated with Climate Change.  Arctic, 57 (4), 389-400.

Ford, J.D., Smit, B., Wandel, J.  (2006).  Vulnerability to climate change in the arctic: a case study from Arctic Bay, Canada.  Global environmental change 16, 145-160.

Fox, S.  (2004). When the Weather is Uggianaqutuq: Linking Inuit and Scientific Observations of Recent Environmental Change in Nunavut, Canada.

Gibson, M.A. & S.B. Schullinger. (1998, June). Answers from the Ice Edge: the Consequences of Climate Change on Life in the Bering and Chukchi Seas.

General Accounting Office (GAO), GAO-04-142. (2003, Dec.). Alaskan Native Villages: Most are affected by Flooding and Erosion, But Few Qualify for Federal Assistance.

General Accounting Office (GAO) GAO-09-551: Alaska Native Villages: limited progress has been made on relocating villages threatened by flooding and erosion.  2009.  Available at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d09551.pdf

Huntington, H.P. (2004). The Changing Arctic: Indigenous Perspectives. Human Dimensions of the Arctic Environment. 55th Arctic Science Conference Anchorage Session, 18.

Huntington, H., Callaghan, T., Fox, S., and Krupnik, I.  (2004).  Matching traditional and scientific observations to detect environmental change: a discussion on arctic terrestrial ecosystems.

Ipsen, B.  (2006, Sept. 11). Section of Kivalina wall fails first test as storm season begins. Schaeffer advocate for tougher enforcement.  The Arctic Sounder, 20 (40), 1, 11.

Krakoff, S.  (2008).  American Indian, climate change, and ethics for a warming world.  Denver University Law Review 85.

Maynard, N.G., (Ed.). (1998).  Native peoples-native homelands climate change workshop: final report.  U.S. Global Change Research Program.

McNutt, D. (Ed.).  (2006). Northwest tribes: meeting the challenge of climate change.  Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute.
Report: http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/IndigClimate2.pdf
Booklet: http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/climatechangebooklet.pdf

Middaugh, Marguerite E. (2006). Linking global warming to Inuit human rights. San Diego International Law Journal, 8, 179-208.

National Congress of American Indians. (2006, Winter Session). “Resolution # EWS-06-004: Supporting a National Mandatory Program to Reduce Climate Change Pollution and Promote Renewable Energy.

National Tribal Air Association. (2009, Dec. 11). Impacts of climate change on tribes in the United States.

National Wildlife Federation.  (2011).  Facing the storm: Indian tribes, climate-induced weather extremes, and the future for Indian Country.

Native American Rights Fund. (2009, March 2). Nation’s Tribes Asking Congress for Swift Action on Climate Legislation.

Norrell, B. (2006, Jan. 11). Indigenous peoples voice urgency on global warming.  Indian Country Today 25 (31), p. A1.

Oppmann, P. (2010, April 21). Constant flooding forces out Pacific Northwest tribe, CNN.com, http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/04/21/hoh.reservation.flooding

Pungowiyi, C.  Native observations of climate change in the marine environment of the Bering Strait region.

Rosen, Y. (2005, Summer). The Arctic Dilemma: A perfect storm of environmental changes is transforming Native Alaskan food gathering and culture.” Colorlines, 8 (2), 7.

Thayer, R.S.  (2010, Aug. 18). Hopi tribe continues to recover from flooding: final cost estimates from disaster relief efforts total over $300,000.  Navajo-Hopi Observer.

Tulalip Natural Resources Department.  Climate change impacts on tribal resourceshttp://tulalip.nsn.us/pdf.docs/FINAL%20CC%20FLYOVER.pdf

Union of Concerned Scientists. (2004). Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, Impacts of a Warming Arctic, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

Voggesser, G.  (2010, Winter). The tribal path forward: Confronting climate change and conserving nature.  The Wildlife Professional. www.wildlifeprofessional-digital.org/wildlifeprofessional/winter2010?pg=26#pg26

Zimmerman, Erika M. (2005). Valuing traditional ecological knowledge: incorporating the experiences of Indigenous people into global climate change policies. New York University Environmental 13, 35.

2017 AIHEC Student Poetry Slam


On the opening evening of the 2017 AIHEC Student Conference in Rapid City, students from an array of TCUs entertained conference goers with the spoken word at the annual poetry slam. View the video

Life of a Tribal College Mom