Supporting Collaborative Relationships between Tribes and Climate Science in the Northeast Region to Address Climate Impacts
Kyle Whyte (Michigan State University)
Marie Schaefer (College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Institute and Michigan State University)
All peoples have a right to make meaningful plans for their future. For many Tribes in the northeast region of the United States, trends in the environment such as shifting lake levels, patterns of precipitation and other seasonal cycles pose potential problems. This includes financial burdens on Tribal governments and stresses on Tribal cultural practices such as harvesting medicinal plants and food staples such as wild rice. Consistent with the U.S. federal trust responsibility to Tribes, the NE CASC has key scientific resources for supporting Tribal adaptation planning in light of noted shifts in environmental trends. The primary activity of this project was for the College of Menominee Nation (CMN) Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU), to facilitate a relationship between 6 Tribes from across the Northeast Region that produced for each participating Tribe, a set of future climate change scenarios. The scenarios will serve both to identify climate change impacts unique to each participating Tribe and to propose solutions for adaptation and resiliency that are relevant for each scenario. The scenarios can be used as the basis for motivating more extensive Tribal adaptation plans, justifying future Tribal adaptation/mitigation projects, and creating the foundation for more sophisticated collaborations between Tribes, other parties and the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center that harness robust risk analysis, decision tools and modeling. The scenarios, then, will serve as the basis for characterizing climate change vulnerabilities and the needed capacities to address them.
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