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Tribal Colleges and Universities: TCU Engagement with Tribal Communities on Climate Change Issues

Project Leader:
Project Investigators:
Rebecca Edler, Sustainability Coordinator, CMN
Dean Fellman, Director of Center for First Americans Forestlands
Cynthia Norton, Sustainability Administrative Assistant
Greg Gauthier, Tribal College and University (TCU) Americorps VISTA Volunteer
Sara Smith, Midwest Tribal Resilience Liaison, CMN
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
New York
New Jersey
West Virginia
+19 more


This project is focused on the specific actions of CMNSDI as part of the CMN Campus and Menominee community to engage in climate change initiatives, as a means to provide demonstration and products that can be provided to other TCU's to consider and follow as they engage with their own communities on climate change and its predicted impacts to community life. This project will cover the development of educational materials for use in existing courses at CMN; an assessment and summary of existing TCU led or affiliated projects and any available results; creation of a recommended best practices for use in these efforts.

These efforts are primarily focused on TCU's and are connected to meeting the overall NE CASC goal "to provide climate science and global research that assists resource managers in developing management and adaptation plans that address current and predicted changes at both regional and local scales". TCU's already have a direct relationship with the tribal communities they serve, and can best help build relationships that will facilitate the implementation of recommendations described under the NE CASC science theme 6.

We worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Climate Change Program to develop a CMNSDI case study for the newly developed Tribal Nations sub-topic for the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. This provided an initial opportunity to develop a framework that can be used as a resource for other TCU's to develop climate change research initiatives.

SDI currently had staff attend a training put on by the American Meteorology Society (AMS) to help with the development of educational curriculum materials for inclusion at CMN in its Introduction to Sustainable Development course (SDE 100). This curriculum development is still ongoing, and is targeted for implementation during the spring 2016 semester.

We continue to develop relationships between other TCU's on matters related to climate change. Part of this effort continues to be making TCU's aware of the CASC network in their areas. One of our current contacts has been Salish Kootenai College in an effort to develop a project to raise awareness for the upcoming NCA 4 (Indigenous and Tribal Communities chapter). The project that has been developed is now being funded by the BIA National Climate Resilience program, with the start of these efforts funded by the NE CASC.


Caldwell, NE CASC work and NCA 4 project, Native American Fish and Wildlife Society (NAFWS) Annual Symposium, Green Bay, WI, May 18, 2016.
Schaefer, NE CASC work and NCA 4 project at National Tribal Air Forum, Buffalo, NY, May 18, 2016 during specific Tribes and Climate Change session.
CMN SDI hosted an Earth Day event, April 21 around Keshena campus that provided presentations on the NE CASC work.
Caldwell and Schaefer, NE CASC work and NCA 4 project, American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN, March 13, specific session titled TCU's and Climate Change.
Tribal Adaptation Menu
Uniquely merging Indigenous knowledges with Western science, the Tribal Adaptation Menu outlines a wide range of climate adaptation actions for incorporation by Tribal resource managers.
Tribal Adaptation Menu
Tribal Adaptation Menu