Tribal Strategic and Sustainable Climate Change Adaptation: A Case Study of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Climate Change Adaptation
Natural Resource Management
AdvisorGimblett, Howard R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoThesis not available (per author's request)
AbstractNative nations are at the forefront of the climate change crisis and one of the most vulnerable populations to the impacts, but they also possess the most knowledge and experience with adaptation. A growing number of Native nations and tribal institutions are preparing for climate change and developing strategies, formal plans, and initiatives to increase the resiliency of their communities. Moreover, many American Indian tribes are considered models for climate change adaptation because they are tackling complex climate change problems across multiple scales with fewer resources to increase the resiliency of their communities. Previously published research shows that Native nations that exercise sovereignty and self-governance while maintaining cultural continuity are having greater success at managing their land and natural resources (Jorgenson 2007). There is, however, limited understanding of tribal climate change adaptation and additional information is needed to understand how tribes are exercising self-governance and approaching climate change issues to advance adaptation planning and implementation. The purpose of this research is to identify and consider some of the challenges of tribal climate change adaptation and the strategic approaches that tribes are using to manage and protect their land, natural resources and communities. This research involves a limited review of the tribal natural resource planning and climate change adaptation literature, and a case study with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of the Flathead Reservation to assess the strategies and resources utilized by their communities to support adaptation planning. A total of 11 semi-structured interviews were conducted with CSKT leaders and department representatives to consider tribal perspectives and experiences in the adaptation planning and implementation process. Additionally, a small group discussion was conducted with CSKT Elders to understand how climate change is affecting the Tribes’ communities and cultures. This research and the case study findings demonstrate the transformative potential for tribal community development and climate change adaptation when aspects of tribal sovereignty, self-governance, and strategic and sustainable natural resource management are embedded into tribal planning and decision-making processes. While there are varying challenges and complexities associated with tribal climate change adaptation that must be considered, the findings offer examples and insights that may help other tribes further develop existing strengths, protect cultural and spiritual values, and increase community resilience. This research also considers future research needs and next steps to support tribal climate change adaptation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College