Tribal Engagement

The Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (SW CASC) recognizes that developing strong, trusting relationships with tribal nations is the key to successful partnerships. Engagement of tribes across the Southwest region ensures that the SW CASC remains a reliable resource for tribal adaptation to climate variability and change. 

A key part of our tribal engagement has been to create spaces for tribal nations to interact with the SW CASC. We have worked to create long-term, sustainable relationships with tribal resource managers and leaders in the region. The SW CASC will continue to create and support opportunities for ongoing dialogue between tribal representatives and subject matter experts in the SW CASC, seek opportunities to listen to and understand the needs, capacities, and interests of tribes in our region, and pursue opportunities to act on those needs and contribute to capacities for tribes to act on them. 

Through a partnership with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Resilience Program (BIA TRP) and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the SW CASC has the opportunity to host Althea Walker as our Tribal Climate Adaptation Science Liaison. She is a part of the Tribal Climate Resilience Liaison Network, and plays a critical role in building strong relationships between the SW CASC and tribal nations and tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) within the SW CASC region (Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah). Althea provides our tribal stakeholders with information, technical assistance, and access to subject matter experts necessary to support local climate resilience research, planning, and implementation efforts. Since coming on board in July of 2018, she focuses on identifying tribal needs for scientific knowledge, supporting tribal climate adaptation planning, improving coordination of federal agency resources, developing outreach capacity to support tribal climate adaptation efforts, and facilitating the integration and coordination of her work with other SW CASC/AIHEC/ BIA TRP climate science activities. 



  • Conducting outreach to tribes, tribal organizations, and TCUs to identify climate readiness activities and priorities through events like: 
  • Southwest Adaptation Forum 
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference 
  • Geoscience Alliance National Conference 
  • Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center Tribal Environmental Health Forum 
  • Facilitating the development of research/action plans to reduce climate vulnerabilities and increase adaptive capacities with the following tribal nations: 
  • Gila River Indian Community 
  • Manzanita Kumeyaay 
  • Elk Valley Rancheria 
  • Facilitating discussions within and among tribal communities to exchange knowledge, experience, and perspectives concerning climate vulnerability and adaptation through advisory committees and board membership with the: 
  • Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) Climate Adaptation Program Advisory Committee 
  • Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network (IFKN) Advisory Committee 
  • American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) Winds of Change Magazine Editorial Board