The peoples, lands, and resources of indigenous communities in the United States, including Alaska and the Pacific Rim, face an array of challenges, many of which are exacerbated by climate change impacts. As one of the most marginalized demographics, the consequences of observed and projected climate change are already having dramatic consequences and eroding Indigenous ways of life that have persisted for thousands of years. Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Third National Climate Assessment acknowledge that the greatest opportunities for adapting to, and mitigating for, climate impacts must include indigenous knowledge and perspectives.
This presentation focuses on key findings from the Third National Climate Assessment with special emphasis from the Indigenous Peoples, Lands and Resources Chapter. It includes discussions on access to traditional food, decreases in water quality and quantity and sea ice, and relocation of Native communities brought on by changing climate conditions.
Dr. T. M. Bull Bennett (Mi’kmaq)
Dr. T. M. Bull Bennett (Mi’kmaq), was born in Brunswick, ME, and grew up in the mountains and prairies of Wyoming. He earned a BS in Biology from Black Hills State University, and completed his MS at the University of Wyoming. Dr. Bennett then went to work for the Tribal Colleges in South Dakota, before returning for PhD studies at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, earning his Doctorate in Atmosphere, Environment and Water Resources. After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Bennett worked for the North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges, first as the Science Coordinator and then the President and CEO.
In 2008, Dr. Bennett was appointed by the Secretary of Interior as a charter member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee. In 2011 he was appointed to the National Climate Assessment (NCA) Development and Advisory Committee to lead the development of the Indigenous Land and Resources chapter of the Third National Climate Assessment released in May, 2014.
Scott Frazier, Crow / Santee
When I am asked to write a BIO, I am always challenged with my upbringing that it is not appropriate to beat your own drum. I was told once that when you are asking for a job, you should tell the employer how good you are at everything. I am a Crow Tribal member with many Santee relations and family. As a worker, I think I am just okay at some jobs and better at other jobs and terrible at the rest. When I finally write a BIO regarding some of the things I have done, I wonder who that person is because it could not be me.
I have been in love with nature from my beginning. As a Tribal person, I have participated in many of our Tribal ceremonies and tried to support Tribal sustainability all my life. I worked fighting fires as a young man, as an operator and pipefitter for Exxon in one of their refineries as a middle-aged man, and now I work to teach about helping the Earth.
I wish I could say I have never done a cruel thing but now, I am trying to work off that debt so I can end up in a good place.
My goal now is to inspire young people to become scientifically curious. They are our hope to resolve the challenges our planet will face after I am gone. Hopefully, to a better place.
Julie Koppel Maldonado
Julie Koppel Maldonado obtained her doctorate in Anthropology from American University in Washington, D.C. Her research focused on the experiences of environmental change and displacement in tribal communities in coastal Louisiana. She has consulted for the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank on post-disaster needs assessments, development-forced displacement and resettlement, and climate change. Julie was a lead author on the Third NCA’s Indigenous Peoples, Land, and Resources Chapter, and co-organized Rising Voices II: Adaptation to Climate Change and Variability - Bringing Together Science and Indigenous Ways of Knowing to Create Positive Solutions. She was also the lead editor and organizer for the Special Issue of Climatic Change and book, "Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Impacts, Experiences and Actions."
Albert “Abby” Ybarra, Yaqui-Tohono O'Odham
Albert “Abby” Ybarra, Yaqui-Tohono O'Odham is an Environmental Education Consultant with Project Indigenous. A Native American owned and operated education group teaching cultural diversity from an Indigenous perspective. Abby was the Outreach Coordinator for the No Child Left Inside Coalition, and has served as the Environmental Education Specialist / Coordinator for the District of Columbia (D.C.) Department Public Works. Prior to his work in D.C. Abby was the Director of Secondary Education for TreePeople and Project Manager for their teen environmental education program. His career includes educational positions with County and State Agencies as well as many years of consulting work on government and private contracts.
In addition to his passion for environmental and conservation work, Abby was a television reporter for seven years and has more than 15 years of combined experience as a professional television producer, actor, and musician. He has won numerous awards for his creative work on public service announcements and documentaries, including an Emmy nomination for Nicaragua Under Siege for a CBS Affiliate in Sacramento CA.
At the time of this broadcast Abby was on the Board of Directors for Native Youth Alliance and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). Abby received their highest award, The Rosa Parks- F.Lee Boggs Award for Environmental Excellence.
Bob Gough (Lenape/Irish descent)
Bob Gough (Lenape/Irish descent) was an attorney with graduate degrees in sociology and cultural anthropology specializing in cultural ecology. He worked with American Indian Tribes on cultural and natural resource issues over the past 40 years, particularly in the Great Lakes and Great Plains regions. He maintained a private law practice on indigenous rights and conducted outreach activities to Native Alaskan and American Indian communities on behalf of the Federal Wind Powering America program.
This 100+ page synthesis of literature brings together research pertaining to the impacts of climate change on sovereignty, culture, health, and economies that are currently being experienced by Alaska Native and American Indian tribes and other indigenous communities in the United States.