4.1 Including Indigenous Voices through Climate Adaptation Planning

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 10:30 AM
Ballroom C (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Renee A. McPherson, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and A. Taylor and A. Phleger

Indigenous peoples have a great deal of scientific knowledge to share with those following a Western science tradition, especially as related to observations of and adaptation to climate change. Yet environmental or policy experts from Sovereign Tribal Nations or Indigenous communities have not been included into many discussions or planning processes initiated by Federal, State, or University scientists. This lack of inclusion both reduces the effectiveness of communication about strategies, best practices, or cultural aspects of decision making and dilutes the potential pool of outstanding young thinkers and scientists for the next generation of evidence-based and cultural-based planning in light of climate change.

From its onset in 2012, the USGS-funded South Central Climate Science Center has included voices from over 50 Tribes and Pueblos across the south-central U.S. Integration of traditional knowledge, co-produced educational curricula, and production of decision products in partnership with Indigenous peoples has been one hallmark of the Climate Science Center and has led to tribal and intertribal leadership in vulnerability assessment and resilience planning. These practices have led to climate change education by tribal environmental professionals to their own governmental leaders, elders, and youth. In addition, it has allowed the Climate Science Center to employ over a dozen Native college students to conduct research, prepare materials for workshops, and help resolve questions from the Tribes and Pueblos.

This presentation will focus on how these relationships developed, how they evolved over time, and plans for future development of intertribal, topical communities of practice. It also will provide recommendations for how other weather and climate organizations may consider working with Indigenous experts and mentoring Native students.

Supplementary URL: http://southcentralclimate.org

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