This informative paper links the perspectives and concerns of American Indians with predictions of climate change impacts on natural resources and Native communities. The report cites current and predicted impacts on the Fond du Lac Reservation in northeastern Minnesota, referencing several local sources and tribal authorities. Extracts of key points are reproduced below. "This paper provides an overview of climate change impacts on tribal water resources and the subsequent cascading effects on the livelihoods and cultures of American Indians and Alaska Natives living on tribal lands in the U.S. A hazards and vulnerability framework for understanding these impacts is first presented followed by context on the framework components, including climate, hydrologic, and ecosystem changes (i.e. hazards) and tribe-specific vulnerability factors (socioeconomic, political, infrastructural, environmental, spiritual and cultural), which when combined with hazards lead to impacts. Next regional summaries of impacts around the U.S. are discussed. Although each tribal community experiences unique sets of impacts because of their individual history, culture, and geographic setting, many of the observed impacts are common among different groups and can be categorized as impacts on—1) water supply and management (including water sources and infrastructure), 2) aquatic species important for culture and subsistence, 3) ranching and agriculture particularly from climate extremes (e.g., droughts, floods), 4) tribal sovereignty and rights associated with water resources, fishing, hunting, and gathering, and 5) soil quality (e.g., from coastal and riverine erosion prompting tribal relocation or from drought-related land degradation). The paper finishes by highlighting potentially relevant research questions based on the five impact categories. The Midwest (MW) is the location of the five lakes comprising the Great Lakes that together form Earth’s largest surface freshwater system. Thirty federally recognized tribes live in MW states and depend on this resource. Ceremonies honoring the waters as the life-blood of Mother Earth are held throughout the region. MW Tribes depend on the waters for subsistence and commercial fishing and for water-based plant materials for traditional crafts and artwork. Additionally, most MW tribes now operate gaming facilities and other tourism enterprises that rely heavily upon water for aesthetic and recreational uses. Many MW tribes consider climate change adaptation to be one of the most important long-range environmental issues for tribal nations. Michigan tribes, for instance, have worked with the state to negotiate and sign the May 12, 2004 Intergovernmental Accord between the Federally Recognized Indian Tribes in Michigan and the Governor of the State of Michigan Concerning Protection of Shared Water Resources and the June 11, 2009 Intergovernmental Accord between the Tribal Leaders of the Federally Recognized Indian Tribes in Michigan and the Governor of Michigan to Address the Crucial Issue of Climate Change. Biannual meetings are held between the state and tribes to discuss shared responsibilities and potential cooperative efforts. Impacts on MW tribes are diverse. Key impacts are related to flora and fauna important for diet, acknowledging clan responsibilities, social and mental health, and the exercise of treaty rights. Traditional healers in the region, for instance, have noted that lack of moisture and unreliable springtime temperatures have caused significant wild and cultivated crop losses. Wild rice (manoomin) is a sacred food of great importance to the Ojibwe of the Great Lakes area and may be detrimentally affected by climate change. In the Ojibwe Migration Story, The Great Mystery foretold the coming of the light-skinned race and instructed the Ojibwe to journey westward until they found ‘the food that grows on water.’ Since the 1900s, the loss of wild rice acreage to mining, dams, and other activities has been substantial. Warmer temperatures could cause further losses by reducing seed dormancy, favoring invasive, out-competing plants, and being conducive to brown spot disease. Water levels also influence rice survival. Extremely low Lake Superior levels in 2007 forced the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa (WI) to cancel its annual wild rice harvest due to dramatic crop reductions. A 2012 flood led to near total wild rice crop failure on the Fond du Lac Reservation. Tribes in the Great Lakes area rely on treaty fishing, hunting, and gathering rights. The exercise of these rights requires considerable attention to environmental issues, including climate changes that affect species and habitats. These rights have been the subject of several court cases, which have resulted in decisions upholding tribal rights. Native American tribes need relevant and culturally appropriate monitoring, assessment, and research on their waters and lands and to develop or be included in the development of contingency, management, and mitigation plans. Tribes also greatly need actual implementation of projects. Although climate change preparedness can take place as a stand-alone effort, climate change considerations can be included as part of planning and implementation that is already occurring. Tribes or intertribal organizations must decide what constitutes relevant work. We propose research questions that might be significant for tribes based on the five impact categories. These include examples of science, policy, and social science questions related both to further identifying impacts and contributing climate and vulnerability factors and to identifying adaptation strategies."
Cozzetto, K; Chief, K; Kittmer, K; Brubaker, M; Gough, R; Souza, K; Ettawageshik, F; Wotkyns, S; Opitz-Stapleton, S; Duren, S; Chavan, P.
Climate Change Impacts on the Water Resources of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the U.S..
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