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Tribal Nations Tools

This page contains links to web-based tools, training, and guidance to help understand, analyze, and assess the vulnerabilities and resilience of Tribal Nations to climate variability, global climate change, and compounding stressors. Tools include Guidance for Using Traditional Knowledges, as well as other unique tools developed by tribes and partners to analyze and address climate change impacts in an appropriate cultural and place-based context. Many of the items listed here in the Tools section are also found among the Tools included in the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

General Resources

  • Adaptation Workbook for Natural Resources: A growing number of Tribal Nations work with the U.S. Forest Service on adjacent lands through this structured process to consider the effects of climate change on forests and related ecosystems and plan projects together to build climate resilience.
  • Arctic Adaptation Exchange: The Arctic Adaptation Exchange (AAE) facilitates knowledge exchange through a central information hub for adaptation projects, techniques, and strategies.
  • Atlas of Community-Based Monitoring and Traditional Knowledge in a Changing Arctic: Access information on community-based monitoring initiatives of environmental and social factors across the Arctic region, including some in particular used by Alaska Natives and other Arctic Peoples.
  • Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE): EcoAdapt developed the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) to access adaptation case studies, including Tribal Nations stories, virtual library resources, a directory of adaptation practitioners, and a database of relevant tools. Tribal Nations can also participate in community forums or contribute resources.
  • Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability (CRAVe): As more Tribal Nations complete climate adaptation plans, and begin more in-depth resource analysis, they can find existing vulnerability assessments by region, habitat, scale, and other factors. Registered users can also enter basic information about a vulnerability assessment, which enables colleagues, partners, and others to learn and benefit from their work. Existing Tribal Nations contributions may be found by selecting “Tribal/First Nation” when searching by scale.
  • Climate Resilience in Alaskan Communities: Catalog of Federal Programs: Native and other communities in Alaska facing challenges associated with coastal erosion, flooding, and other climate-related risks can use this catalog to find information, technical assistance programs, and potential funding resources.
  • Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice: Natural resource managers and conservation professionals can use this guide to help communities incorporate climate considerations into their program. DOI Climate Science Centers provide tribal versions of this climate adaptation planning course through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Tribal Climate Resilience provides annual travel support grants to permit tribes to attend this and other climate training sessions.
  • Coastal Change Analyses for Western Alaska: Interactive Map: Covering the entire extent of the Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s area, these analyses provide important baseline information on the distribution and magnitude of landscape changes from erosion and aggradation (deposition) over 41 years. The maps document changes in the shape and extent of land, as well as in coastal features such as spits, barrier islands, estuaries, tidal guts, and lagoons. Western Alaska Native coastal communities may use this mapping tool to summarize changes for various parcels of land or assess the extent of habitat loss or gain over the study period.
  • FEMA and Tribal Nations: A Pocket Guide: This guide helps Tribal Nations find and access programs offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against emergencies and disasters that impact Indian Country.
  • Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives: The Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives were developed by the Climate and Traditional Knowledges Workgroup (CTKW), composed of tribal climate experts and partners. Tribes, agencies, and other climate-related organizations can use this guide as a framework to increase understanding of issues relating to access and protection of traditional knowledges in climate initiatives. It includes both a primer on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change and a discussion of ethics to aid understanding and appropriate usage.
  • G-WOW Guiding for Tomorrow: Changing Climate, Changing Culture Initiative: The “Gikinoo’wizhiwe Onji Waaban” (Guiding for Tomorrow) or “G-WOW” Initiative is a unique approach to increasing awareness of how climate change is affecting Lake Superior’s coastal environment, people, cultures, and economies. G-WOW integrates scientific climate change research with place-based evidence of the ways climate change affects traditional Ojibwe lifeways and people of all cultures. The Initiative brings native perspectives and involvement to addressing issues of climate change by directly engaging native communities, educators, and students, providing learners with knowledge about what they can do to mitigate or adapt to a changing climate.
  • Imiq Data Portal: The word “imiq” means “freshwater” in the Inupiat language of Northern Alaska. The Imiq Data Portal provides a snapshot of available hydroclimate data: a map-based view shows where, what, and when data have been obtained. Users can submit a custom data query, specifying variable of interest, geographic bounds, and time step. Imiq will aggregate and export data records from multiple sources in a common format, with full metadata records providing information about the source data.
  • Indigenous Health Indicators Tool: The Indigenous Health Indicators (IHIs) are meant to provide a clear and broadly understandable depiction of what it means to be healthy for many indigenous communities, as well as a method for evaluating the status of health and well-being. IHIs were developed by Swinomish and Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribes with federal partners. Tribal Nations can use this tool — which incorporates connections to ecosystem health and social/cultural beliefs — to better evaluate and manage public environmental health risks and impacts aligned with their value systems.
  • Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network: The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) developed the Local Environmental Observer (LEO) network to enable Alaska Native participants to post unique or unusual environmental events onto public, web-based maps. The LEO network provides a model for connecting community members with technical experts and resources and is expanding to other regions of the United States and the Arctic.
  • Ocean Acidification Curriculum Collection: The Ocean Acidification Curriculum Collection was developed by the Suquamish Tribe, Northwest Indian Fisheries, and state and federal partners. It provides free lesson plans and units on ocean acidification and related topics concerning climate impacts on ocean resources. The collection is searchable by grade band, subject, type of activity, and length of activity and includes correlations to Next Generation Science Standards.
  • OceanAdapt: Coastal Tribes and Alaska Native communities may use OceanAdapt to explore how the distribution of almost 650 marine species—including those of interest for subsistence fishing and shellfish gathering—have changed over the past 40 years. Advanced visualization tools help track changes in the distribution of marine species with changing climate and ocean conditions.
  • Pan Inuit Trails Atlas: This tool looks at Inuit occupancy of the Northwest Passage through documentation of Inuit traditional trails and place names, which have interconnected Inuit groups across the Arctic for generations. Although they are not permanent features on the landscape, delineations of trails and place names play a critical role in documenting the Inuit spatial narratives about their homelands. The atlas offers map- and text-based searches to help users find material obtained from hundreds of published and unpublished documents.
  • Regional Adaptation Collaborative Toolkit: Although initially built through efforts of several California Regional Collaboratives, this Regional Adaptation Collaborative Toolkit may serve Tribal Nations in developing insights into effective governance mechanisms for engaging local, regional, state, and national stakeholders to protect resources across broader landscapes upon which Tribal Nations often depend on for subsistence resources and their close relationships with broader ecosystems health.
  • Scenarios Network for Alaska + Arctic Planning (SNAP) Tools: Alaska Native communities rely on multiple easy-to-use SNAP tools, including climate projections, climate science, and data exploration by community name, which rapidly develop a local focus within the broader context of climate change.
  • Seven Generations – Community Based Environmental Planning: The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) developed the Seven Generations (7G) manual, training, and outreach program to assist Alaska Native communities with adopting an environmental planning process that recognizes climate impacts and builds community capacity for resilience from which other Tribal Nations may also benefit. The tool is called “Seven Generations” because many Tribal Nations hold in common a policy to consider many future generations in community decision-making to focus on long-term sustainability.
  • Tribal Climate Change Adaptation Planning Toolkit: The Northern Arizona University Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) established its Tribes & Climate Change (TCC) Program in 2009 to provide support and be responsive to the needs of tribes that are preparing for and currently contending with climate change impacts. This program offers training, technical assistance, educational resources, and tools to build the capacity of tribes to address climate change impacts. The Tribal Climate Change Adaptation Planning Toolkit collection of templates and other resources assists tribes in their climate change adaptation planning process. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Tribal Climate Resilience provides annual travel support grants to permit tribes to attend this and other climate training opportunities and helps fund the TCC program.
  • Tribal Energy Program: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Tribal Energy Program provides financial and technical assistance that enables tribes to evaluate and develop their renewable energy resources and reduce their energy consumption through efficiency and weatherization. The program also offers technical assistance and training opportunities designed to foster clean energy technology adoption, promote green jobs and growth, and strengthen native communities.
  • Tribal Resilience Resource Guide (TRRG): Tribal Nations and partners can use this guide as a “one-stop shop” for locating integrated, government-wide resources from the federal government relating to climate resilience. Each regional and tribal fact sheet includes a top section that links back to Agency Tribes & Climate resources and area contacts. Tribal fact sheets share awards, stories, tools, and work product links to assist other tribes facing similar climate impacts, while linking to tools and site-specific data and maps to support the tribe itself. Tribes are also linked to tribal colleges, intertribal groups, and regional partners to assist in capacity building.
  • U.S. Drought Portal: Tribal Nations in the lower 48 increasingly rely on the U.S. Drought Portal to access a range of information and services related to drought including early warnings, climate data, and decision support services. A search for “tribe” on the portal includes tribal drought resources, such as Lessons Learned from Tribal Drought Planning and the Drought Preparedness for Tribes in the Four Corners Region Workshop.
  • Water Toolbox: Tribal Nations may take advantage of this Federal Support Toolbox to access a comprehensive “one-stop shop” online water resources data portal. The site offers direct links to valuable data, state-of-the-art models, and tools for the U.S. and international water resources community to collaborate and share information.

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