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Native Climate: Building Climate Resilience Across Cultures

USDA-funded project interweaves Indigenous knowledge and western science to address the climate crisis

As Earth closes out its hottest year on record, climate-related challenges such as drought, wildfires, and extreme weather continue to present unique challenges to Indigenous agricultural producers, resource managers, and their communities. The Native Climate project (, which supports Indigenous climate resilience efforts across the intermountain west, has been busy with drought workshops, speaking events, working group meetings, and more. 

Native Climate is a USDA-funded project that pairs Indigenous knowledge with western science to enhance climate adaptation and resilience action. Working in collaboration with personnel from the Southwest and Northern Plains Climate Hubs, the Native Climate team facilitates information-sharing and relationship-building to make climate data more accessible and useful to Tribes in Northern Plains and Southwest Hub regions, and to build awareness nationally about climate impacts and resilience on Native lands. 

In September, members of the Native Climate team worked with NOAA-NIDIS and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to facilitate a Tribal Drought Resilience Workshop in Poulson, MT for tribes from the Upper Columbia and Missouri Basin. The workshop was attended by participants from more than 15 tribes from across the region and representatives from many federal agencies. Presentations and workshop sessions focused on the history and future of drought in the region, resilience actions, how to document drought impacts, and more.

In November, Native Climate team member Gina McGuire presented a keynote address as the U.S. representative to the Indigenous Research Network’s “Power of Inclusivity” workshop. This virtual workshop gathered young Indigenous leaders from around the world to share knowledge and experiences on the theme of climate change resilience and youth inclusion. McGuire is a climate reporter for the Native Climate project, and communicates the impacts of climate change on her home and culture in Hawai’i through poetry and creative writing.

Throughout the busy fall season, the Native Climate team and partners from across the US have gathered for monthly working group meetings, which aim to raise climate awareness, increase sharing of traditional and western knowledge, and reduce barriers for Tribes to access resources. Recent presentations have focused on the status of western drought, the Intertribal Agriculture Council, and the Intertribal Buffalo Council. The Native Climate Working Group meets on Zoom the third Tuesday of each month and welcomes new participants. More information about upcoming topics and how to join is available on the Native Climate website.