Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Traditional Knowledge and Climate Change Adaptation

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Native Americans throughout the Southwest are vulnerable to climate change due to intimate relationships with the environments and landscapes upon which their cultures, traditions, and livelihoods depend. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT) in Nevada is profoundly connected physically, culturally, and spiritually to Pyramid Lake, the endangered cui-­ui fish, and the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout. While the tribe has adapted to non-­climatic stressors over the past century, climate change impacts to water resources pose a threat to the ecosystems and species of fish so deeply important to the PLPT. Our previous research indicates that PLPT is an exemplary leader in adaptive planning, given that tribal members are keenly aware of and concerned for climate change impacts to Pyramid Lake. Climate adaptation that considers traditional knowledge and livelihoods of tribal members is critical to successful adaptation for PLPT. We will conduct interviews and focus groups with community members in order to better understand the role of traditional knowledge in PLPT culture and its potential use in climate adaptation. This collaborative research addresses the need for climate change adaptation research in the United States that incorporates tribal perspectives and can offer insight for adaptation planning efforts among other tribes.

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