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Asserting Native Resilience

Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations Face the Climate Change

Alan Parker, Zoltan Grossman

Publication Year: 2012

Indigenous nations are on the frontline of the climate crisis of the twenty-first century. With cultures and economies among the most vulnerable to climate-related catastrophes, Native peoples are developing responses to climate change that serve as a model for Native and non-Native communities alike.  

Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Indigenous peoples around the Pacific Rim have already been deeply affected by droughts, flooding, reduced glaciers and snowmelts, seasonal shifts in winds and storms, and the northward shifting of species on the land and in the ocean. Having survived the historical and ecological wounds inflicted by colonization, industrialization, and urbanization, Indigenous peoples are using tools of resilience that have enabled them to respond to sudden environmental changes. They are creating defenses to harden their communities, mitigate losses, and adapt where possible.

Asserting Native Resilience presents a rich variety of perspectives on Indigenous responses to the climate crisis, reflecting the voices of more than twenty contributors, including tribal leaders, Native and non-Native scientists, scholars, and activists from the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Alaska, and Aotearoa / New Zealand. Also included is a resource directory of Indigenous governments, NGOs, and communities that are researching and responding to climate change and a community organizing booklet for use by Northwest tribes.

An invaluable addition to the literature on climate change, Asserting Native Resilience will be useful for students of environmental studies, Native studies, geography, and rural sociology, and will serve as an important reference for Indigenous leaders, tribal members, and environmental agency staff.

Published by: Oregon State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

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pp. 6-7

GRAPHICS CREDITS

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pp. 8-

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Tribute to Renée Miller Klosterman Power

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pp. 9-

Renée was a summa cum laude graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications at Washington State University with a communications major and a sociology minor. She obtained her masters...

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FOREWORD: LOOKING AHEAD

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pp. 10-12

As a lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest and the descendent of people who have lived here for thousands of years, I can tell you many things about the land, the water, and the life that has been sustained here for a...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 13-20

Indigenous nations are on the frontline of the climate crisis, around the continent and the world. Native peoples are the first to experience climate change, and the peoples who feel it the deepest, with economies and cultures that are the most vulnerable to climate-related...

PART I. CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES

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CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES

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pp. 22-

Indigenous peoples, the First Nations of our planet, are the first victims of climate change, but are also the first to grasp and explain the profound meanings of a changing climate. Indigenous voices draw on many millennia of experience with the...

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LAND GRAB ON A GLOBAL SCALE

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pp. 23-24

Among the English-speaking settler societies—U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand—an irrational but powerful myth still prevails. It drove “manifest destiny” and is still alive and well, if usually unconscious...

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THE ANCHORAGE DECLARATION

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pp. 24-26

On April 20–24, 2009, Indigenous representatives from the Arctic, North America, Asia, Pacific, Latin America, Africa, [the] Caribbean, and Russia met in Anchorage, Alaska, for the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change. We thank the Ahtna and the Dena’ina...

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INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IIPFCC) POLICY PAPER ON CLIMATE CHANGE

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pp. 26-29

Mother Earth is no longer in a period of climate change, but in climate crisis.... Indigenous Peoples have a vital role in defending and healing Mother Earth. We uphold that the inherent rights of...

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THE MYSTIC LAKE DECLARATION

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pp. 29-32

As community members, youth and elders, spiritual and traditional leaders, Native organizations and supporters of our Indigenous Nations, we have gathered on November 18–21, 2009, at Mystic Lake in the traditional homelands of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota...

KEY NORTH AMERICAN INDIGENOUS CONCERNS

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pp. 32-34

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ALASKA: TESTIMONY FROM THE FRONT LINES

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pp. 34-37

Editors’ note: This chapter combines testimony by Mike Williams (Yupiaq) before a U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming hearing on Energy and Global...

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SHARING ONE SKIN

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pp. 37-40

I am from the Okanagan, a part of British Columbia that is very dry and hot. Around my birthplace are two rocky mountain ranges: the Cascades on one side and the Selkirks on the other. The main river that flows...

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WHERE WORDS TOUCH THE EARTH

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pp. 40-43

Recently we were given the great opportunity to work with the Where Words Touch the Earth project, coordinated by Dr. David Adamec of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In spring 2009, NASA approached six tribal colleges (including NWIC)...

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WATCHING FOR THE SIGNS

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pp. 43-46

We’ve been noticing the huge impacts of climate change in intricate ways. The different things we are noticing around us include the snow-capped mountains. At one time our elders would predict the following winter...

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DIFFERENT WAYS OF LOOKING AT THINGS

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pp. 46-50

Where I come from, the elders are always saying look at the root causes for anything. It’s fine to see the symptoms and deal with the symptoms, but you must keep in mind you are going to address the root causes for any issue. My elders say it’s reversed in Western society..

PART II. EFFECTS OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS

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EFFECTS OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS

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pp. 52-

The effects of the climate crisis are now being felt around the world. In the media, we hear about disastrous effects in remote, unknown corners of the globe, such as Greenland or Tuvalu. We also read of dire predictions about the...

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CLIMATE THREATS TO PACIFIC NORTHWEST TRIBES AND THE GREAT ECOLOGICAL REMOVAL: KEEPING TRADITIONS ALIVE

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pp. 53-68

Indigenous peoples are rich in traditional knowledge inherited from the wisdom of tribal ancestors. This knowledge has guided them through many difficult episodes in the past when the Earth has brought forth natural catastrophes. The pulse of life that has sustained...

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CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE QUILEUTE AND HOH NATIONS OF COASTAL WASHINGTON

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pp. 68-89

The Native peoples living along the Washington state coast have an intimate connection to the land and ocean and have adapted to many previous environmental and social changes, from the receding glaciers of the last ice...

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MAORI PERSPECTIVES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

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pp. 89-97

The reality of climate change is slowly dawning on people, but public debate is largely confined to heralding the global shifts, potential changes, and in some instances the somewhat alarming possible impacts on...

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IMPACTS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

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pp. 97-102

It is now undeniable that climate change is occurring around the world. Scientists have discovered that the average surface air temperature has risen to its warmest level in 650,000 years. The rise in temperature has already affected environments around the world and,...

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EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S HEALTH

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pp. 102-106

Climate change is not just about global warming, but about instability in our natural world caused by the burning of carbon in oil and coal. “Rainfall and freshwater availability, average temperatures, agricultural growth zones and sea level all will change. Ecological...

PART III. CURRENT RESPONSES

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CURRENT RESPONSES

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pp. 108-

The current debates around climate change often seem depressing and overpowering. The discussion usually centers on the global scale of “global warming,” and how can one person or family help protect the entire world? Changing...

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INDIGENOUS RESPONSES TO THE INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE FRAMEWORK

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pp. 109-125

For the past decade, Indigenous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and some Native governments have been attempting to participate in the international discussion around the climate crisis and to intervene in the international climate change regulatory framework....

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ON OUR OWN: ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

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pp. 125-133

If one wants to find the green parts of the world, look only where the Indigenous people live and there’s a reason for that. There is a strong motive to duplicate that, which means relying more heavily on Indigenous people....

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SWINOMISH CLIMATE CHANGE INITIATIVE

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pp. 133-145

In recognition of a growing body of scientific evidence and in response to certain specific local events, the Swinomish Indian Senate issued a proclamation in 2007 directing action to study the possible effects of climate change on the Swinomish Indian Reservation...

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PULLING TOGETHER: HONORABLE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

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pp. 145-154

This is a tribute to two of my teachers—Nilak Butler, an Inuit warrior woman, brave freedom fighter, friend, and enduring spirit to many, who taught me to have a voice; and to subiyay (Bruce Miller), a Skokomish teacher, healer, and cultural preservationist who taught...

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GROUPS PRESS FOR TRIBE-FRIENDLY RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICIES

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pp. 154-155

Washington, DC – As more tribes explore and get involved in the renewable energy field, a network of tribal groups is asking President Barack Obama to support tribally owned and operated renewable energy projects, along with economic development initiatives...

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A METHANE TO THEIR MADNESS

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pp. 155-157

Through manure, an unlikely partnership has bloomed between Native Americans and farmers in Snohomish County—a partnership that is shattering a long-standing impasse through a common cause: harnessing the “green” power of methane....

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FINDING COMMON GROUND: Qualco Biogas Project Brings Together Farmers, Natives while Helping the Salmon

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pp. 157-158

Historically, dairy farmers and members of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington’s Tualco Valley have been at loggerheads. The farmers are pushing ahead with herd growth, thus increasing the risk of manure run-off into the Snohomish River....

PART IV. POSSIBLE PATHS

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POSSIBLE PATHS

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pp. 160-

The climate crisis poses a threat to Indigenous peoples and also an opportunity. For decades, forward-looking tribal members and leaders have tried to protect Native culture and language, bring back endangered species and traditional lifeways, and involve youth to practice...

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KAUA E MANGERE—DO NOT BE IDLE: Maori Responses in a Time of Climate Change

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pp. 161-167

The word is out—people and communities have begun to embrace a deeper sense of acceptance and acknowledgement for the role of human impacts in climate change. Our debates can at last shift from the analysis of dramatic increases in atmospheric greenhouse...

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POTENTIAL PATHS FOR NATIVE NATIONS

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pp. 167-175

Indigenous peoples share significant experiences as a result of colonialism, such as the loss of land, natural resources, and subsistence; the abrogation of treaties; and the imposition of psychologically and socially destructive assimilation policies. Non-Indigenous...

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NO LONGER THE“MINER’S CANARY”: Indigenous Nations’ Responses to Climate Change

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pp. 175-188

Climate change is usually portrayed as a process of “global warming” that is so large that it can be addressed only by national governments or international agencies. We are told that we can only respond to climate change in a personal way—by changing our light bulbs...

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RECOMMENDATIONS TO NATIVE GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP

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pp. 189-192

This section of the anthology is addressed primarily to the leadership of U.S. tribal nations and to First Nations, Maori, and other Pacific Rim Indigenous nation leaders. Through our research and consultations with tribal officials, we have determined that climate change impacts...

PART V. NATIVE CLIMATE CHANGE RESOURCES, AUTHOR BIOGRAPHIES

NATIVE CLIMATE CHANGE RESOURCES: Examples of Model Projects and Groups, Organized around NIARI Recommendations

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pp. 194-208

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COMMUNITY ORGANIZING BOOKLET ON CLIMATE CHANGE

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pp. 208-224

The 16-page booklet that follows, entitled Northwest Tribes: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change, is a tool for members of Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest, to educate each other about the challenge that climate change poses to tribal cultures,...

CONTRIBUTORS’ BIOGRAPHIES

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pp. 225-229

INDEX

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pp. 230-239


E-ISBN-13: 9780870716645
E-ISBN-10: 0870716646
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870716638
Print-ISBN-10: 0870716638

Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Indigenous peoples -- Ecology -- Pacific Area.
  • Human beings -- Effect of climate on -- Pacific Area.
  • Traditional ecological knowledge -- Pacific Area.
  • Climatic changes -- Pacific Area.
  • Pacific Area -- Environmental conditions.
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