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Climate Adaptation and Indigenous Knowledge in the Great Lakes

Traditional and indigenous knowledge and perspectives have not often been recognized in climate adaptation planning efforts focused on natural resources. The Northern Forests Climate Hub is collaborating with regional tribal partners to address this gap, and collaborating to provide tools and guidance to help natural resources staff and community members address tribal perspectives through climate change adaptation.

Effects from Climate Change

Indigenous cultures are rooted in specific locations and shaped by relationships with plants, animals, and other beings in the natural world. As climate change continues, these relationships will be challenged in many ways. Culturally important species may be vulnerable to changing conditions, or the timing of formerly predictable natural events may shift. Future conditions may also disrupt the ability of tribal members to access important places. Learning about these climate-related impacts will depend on respectful information sharing with tribal members and knowledge holders.

The following resources are useful for considering future changes: 

Adaptation in action

Regional partners from a diverse team came together to create a climate change adaptation menu specifically designed to represent indigenous perspectives. Dibaginjigaadeg Anishinaabe Ezhitwaad: A Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu was published in April 2019. This menu is an extensive collection of climate change adaptation actions for natural resources management, organized into tiers of general and more specific ideas. It also includes Guiding Principles to support working with tribal communities.

Download Dibaginjigaadeg Anishinaabe Ezhitwaad: A Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu

The tribal adaptation menu is designed to be compatible with climate adaptation planning processes, such as the Adaptation Workbook published in the Forest Adaptation Resources guidebook. This resource may be useful to bridge communication barriers for non-tribal persons or organizations interested in indigenous approaches to adaptation and the needs and values of diverse tribal communities.

Partners collaborating on this effort

This tool was created by a core team of collaborators, representing a variety of organizations: the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, 1854 Treaty Authority, Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Institute, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Michigan Technological University, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Forest Service, and USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub.