Indian reservations are currently located on some of the most marginal lands in the United States, and are increasingly threatened by water stress as global temperatures continue to rise. Some studies and reports have shown abundant evidence that Native American and other Indigenous Communities in North America and Greenland have become increasingly vulnerable to climate change disruptions, particularly those located in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions as they are experiencing permafrost melting with effects on human habitation and natural systems, erosion of land in coastal villages, and endangerment of species vital for their economies and cultures.
Renowned for their observations skills, Native Americans’ close relationship with Nature has made them among the first to detect early signs of changes in weather patterns. Operating with limited financial resources, Tribal Colleges and universities have played a pivotal role within Native American communities and are optimally situated to provide post-secondary education for many young tribal members living on reservations.
The Climate Institute is forging an alliance between Tribal Colleges, NASA and US universities to provide scientific and capital resources to empower Native American communities to be proactive in responding to climate stresses and develop innovative and comprehensive response strategies within their tribes.
Read about the April 22-24, 2009 conference at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington: Red Alert: The Impact of Climate Change on Northwest Coast Tribal Fisheries. The conference, which was supported by NASA, the Bullitt Foundation, and the Climate Institute, served as a forum for sharing wisdom about the environment and for discussing solutions to the fisheries crisis.
Where Words Touch the Earth: In a project supported by NASA, students from American Indian Tribal Colleges interview Elders, other students, and community members to provide a Native American perspective on climate change and its effects on their communities.
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