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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Designing Wabanaki Adaptive Capacity for Climate Change

Overview

Wabanaki Tribal Nations (Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot) and other Tribal Nations in the Northeast CASC region will face a disproportionate impact from climate change. These impacts will affect resources such as forestry products, fish, game, wild crops, and water that are important to tribal economies and well-being. To combat this, varying levels of tribal community preparedness and the ability to build effective adaptive capacity to extreme events will be crucial for future resiliency efforts. Furthermore, there is a pressing need to work with partners who have a variety of backgrounds to plan, strategize, build and implement resiliency initiatives in tribal communities and identify innovative ways that integrate local knowledge, technology, and science in a manner that traditional and cultural identities are tied.  

Using Indigenous Research Methods, Native American Programs at the University of Maine will align research questions, data collection methods, outputs, and research protocols with Wabanaki people, knowledge, and values to build a regional tribal network for climate change adaptation and create a Wabanaki Climate Adaptation and Adaptive Management Workbook. This project will work with and inform a Regional Climate Change Tribal Network to identify research and output goals and objectives using indigenous values and science related to both the network building and the Workbook.  

The Regional Network will consist of a diverse group of collaborators representing tribal harvesters, tribal environmental staff, intertribal and regional government entities, academic staff and tribal scholars from the University of Maine, and tribal elders and language speakers from each community to integrate a framework that will include indigenous and traditional knowledge, culture, language and history into the adaptation planning process. The primary output of this work, a Climate Adaptation and Adaptive Management Workbook, will identify examples of culturally appropriate adaptative management in responding to climate change, and identify tools for future Wabanaki Tribal leaders and communities to respond to future climate changes.