Reflections from Rising Voices

July 8, 2019
5 people sitting on a stage having an open discussion with a moderator off to the left.

Althea Walker leads discussion during a workshop breakout session.

In May of 2019, SWCASC affiliates attended the 7th Annual Rising Voices Workshop in Boulder, Colorado. Rising Voices is a program that facilitates intercultural, relational-based approaches for understanding and adapting to extreme weather and climate events, climate variability and climate change. The workshop was focused on "Converging Voices: Building Relationships and Practices for Intercultural Science." Below are reflections from Nikki Tulley (Ph.D. candidate in Soil, Water, and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona) and Althea Walker (SWCASC Tribal Climate Adaptation Science Liaison).

Nikki Tulley

My name is Nikki Tulley and I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona, in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science. In May, I attended the 7th Annual Rising Voices Workshop in Boulder, Colorado. This was the first time that I had attended the workshop. The theme for the workshop was Building Relationships and Practices for Intercultural Science. Looking at the workshop material beforehand, I did not fully understand the concept of intercultural science. However, by the end of the workshop, I gained huge insight into the numerous ways that diversity of thought is contributing to climate resilience through Indigenous and earth sciences. People from all walks of life came together for a few days to discuss climate impacts on water, phenology, health & livelihoods, energy, and relocation, all in relation to Indigenous communities. Being an Indigenous student, I found the discussions at the Rising Voices workshop to be highly empowering. Often there is not a space to hold these types of discussion with such a focused goal on Indigenous communities and climate, and I am grateful for the opportunity that SWCASC provided me to attend the workshop. The experience and network developed at Rising Voices will greatly contribute to my time at the University of Arizona as a Ph.D. student. 

Althea Walker

This was my second time attending Rising Voices and I left with so much to take in; spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. This year was a little different for me as I was given the privilege to not only help plan the gathering, but also participate as a moderator and facilitator of both plenary and breakout sessions. Rising Voices continues to be a place to not only share the knowledge and experience we have, but to build better relationships and connections with one another. Rising Voices is a place to bring together Western Science and Indigenous Knowledge. One quote that stuck with me was, “I don’t care what you know, until I know that you care”. This rings so true to the success of the work that we all do and how authentic we are to one another. Our knowledge and experience don’t matter unless we are able to relate and connect. I know Rising Voices will continue to provide us the space to bring our knowledge systems together and I look forward to next year’s gathering.