Special Issue of Climatic Change focuses on tribal natural and cultural resources

Oct. 1, 2013

Press Release

October 1, 2013

Contact Information: Julie Maldonado, jkmaldo@gmail.com

Maldonado, Julie Koppel, Rajul E. Pandya, and Benedict J. Colombi, eds. (2013) Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Impacts, Experiences and Actions. Special Issue, Climatic Change. Vol 120, Issue 3. 

The impacts of climate change on tribal natural and cultural resources are taking center stage in a Special Issue of the journal Climatic Change (Vol. 20, Issue 3), released on-line on September 15, 2013. This is the first time a peer-reviewed scientific journal has exclusively devoted an entire edition to climate change and its impacts on indigenous communities across the United States.

A collaborative effort by over 50 authors representing tribal communities, academia, government agencies and NGOs resulted in this Special Issue, which explores issues currently experienced by indigenous communities in the U.S. due to climate change, including loss of traditional knowledge, forests and ecosystems, food security and traditional foods, and water, Arctic sea ice loss, permafrost thaw, and relocation. The Issue also highlights how tribal communities and programs are responding to the changing environments. 

With a long history and deep connection to the Earth’s resources, indigenous peoples have an intimate understanding and ability to observe the long-term impacts from climate change. Traditional ecological knowledge and tribal experience plays a key role in developing future scientific solutions to adapt to the impacts.

"The Special Issue reminds us that the damaging effects of climate change is a global phenomenon that fails to recognize political nation-state boundaries,” said Prof. Dan Wildcat, Haskell Indian Nations University and contributor to the Special Issue, “The partnerships between tribal peoples and their non-tribal research allies give us a model for responsible and respectful international collaboration that will be essential to successfully mitigate the most damaging effects of climate change that have yet to arrive. Climate change and this Special Issue remind us that, as my Lakota relatives say, ‘We are all related.’ That might be the wisdom we need most whether scientist or non-scientist - Indigenous or non-Indigenous."

The research presented in this Special Issue supplements the “Impacts of Climate Change on Tribal, Indigenous, and Native Lands and Resources” chapter in the Third National Climate Assessment, to be released in early 2014. The National Climate Assessment will inform national decision-makers on the climate change status and trends throughout the United States.

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