For centuries, Native Americans, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and other indigenous peoples and communities have relied on natural resources to sustain their families, communities, traditional ways of life, and cultural identities. This important relationship with both land and water ecosystems makes indigenous people and cultures particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which can include drought, increased wildfires and extreme weather, sea-level rise and melting glaciers. Read more

Click on the map below to explore the StoryMap for Tribes in the Southeast.

Federally Recognized Tribes in the Southeastern United States

Many communities are already facing problems such as loss of important freshwater resources and agricultural lands due to ocean inundation in the Pacific Islands, the decimation of an important food source, potentially related to climate change in Alaska, and vulnerability to extreme weather events in the South Central U.S.

The National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) and the DOI Climate Science Centers (CSCs) are working with tribes and indigenous communities to better understand their specific vulnerabilities to climate change and to help them adapt to these impacts. This work is conducted through research projects, outreach events, training workshops, stakeholder meetings, youth internships and other coordination activities.

Input & Engagement
Direct input from and engagement with tribal and indigenous communities is crucial for the NCCWSC and CSCs to provide the appropriate science needed by these communities. Input is also important so that, when appropriate and acceptable, researchers can understand and consider Traditional Knowledge. Input is, in part, gathered through participation from these communities in the regional CSC Stakeholder Advisory Committees and the national Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science. CSCs have also engaged with native communities through efforts such as inter-tribal workshops and climate related training classes in the South Central U.S., education and networking meetings in the Northeast, and interviews with tribal elders in the Northwest.

The Department of the Interior is also in the process of placing Tribal Climate Science Liaisons at several of the CSCs to help identify climate information and research needs of tribes and indigenous communities and work with federal partners to address those needs.