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PAGE 34 ASSERTING NATIVE RESILIENCE: PACIFIC RIM INDIGENOUS NATIONS FACE THE CLIMATE CRISIS Southwest Region a Change the way we all live. a Continue adapting. a Conclude and adjudicate legal issues. a Get regulations in place: e.g., water use contracts. a Solidify your finite land/space resources. a Quantify and qualify resource management using Indian terms. a Improve or eliminate detrimental obstacles. a Consider both positive and negative consequences of resource management. a Base planning on sound information and good decisions . Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain Regions a Increase carbon sinks by reducing forest harvesting and increasing planting. a Avoid actions that reduce stream integrity and change runoff patterns. a Restore stream ecosystems. a Use native or natural controls to replace chemicals in agriculture. a Give nature a rest from agriculture. a Conserve natural habitats. a Fight for sensible and sustainable development. a Maintain and appreciate wildlife. a Develop buffers and plant riparian zones. a Promote graduate programs in Native colleges and educational institutions. a Develop stronger Native American offices in federal science agencies. a Accommodate flood zones and wetlands. ALASKA: TESTIMONY FROM THE FRONT LINES Mike Williams Vice Chairman, Alaska Inter-Tribal Council 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 Warma Use and support indigenous sovereignty to co-manage different regions. a Protect spiritual rites. a Create a story that lays out all the steps in unsustainable industrial activities such as industrial forestry, i.e., how such practices cause local environmental damage yet are tied to the global economic picture. a Establish policies for environmental conservation, especially in food production areas. a Preserve historic and cultural practices for food production . a Examine how western technology and free market policies have impacted food production and sacred sites. a Respect, give thanks, give offerings, and conduct ceremonies. a Recognize the importance of sacred sites. a Ensure Tribal access and control over sacred sites. a Take control over resources. a Follow existing rules and laws, including natural laws. Great Plains Region a Save the prairie ecosystem. a Develop native land use practices. a Plan and develop Tribal food production projects. a Use spiritual intelligence. a Improve science curriculum. a Use available technology and funding to research land. a Comparatively analyze differences between beef and buffalo economies. a Request funding for sustainable agriculture development and energy resources. a Develop intertribal markets and trade agreements to support sustainable development in food production and energy use. a Propose “green” energy technology to Tribal councils . a Develop Tribal energy efficiency codes and weatherization programs. a Address nutritional issues and the Native diet. a Protect medicine plants and transplant to safe land area. a Use elders to help teachers develop environment and ecology curriculum. a Plant and protect trees. PAGE 35 I. CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES Two reports prepared for congressional requesters by the GAO indicate that 86 percent of Alaska Native villages are threatened by erosion and flooding due to warming temperatures, and thirty-one villages qualify for permanent relocation. Yet Alaska Native villages cannot access some federal program assistance due to prohibitive funding criteria. There is no overarching federal plan or lead federal agency to address the fact that many of the residents of these villages are becoming climate change refugees. Everything is changing so quickly. Lakes are drying; new insects are appearing; permafrost is melting; berries are disappearing; storms are fiercer; animal populations are changing; our fish are rotting on drying racks; and polar bears are drowning. Because of massive, record-breaking forest fires, our youth and elders are having trouble breathing. Our ice is so much thinner or entirely gone. And our coastlines are eroding, washing away ancient artifacts from our ancestors as well as modern infrastructure. Inland Impacts In the summer of 2009, the interior of Alaska had the driest July in 104 years. Two point nine million acres of forest recently burned, and the salmon run was the weakest in recent memory. A warming climate contributed to increased forest fires in 2004 and 2005 as well, devastating more than 11 million acres of Alaska’s interior forests. Many lakes and ponds on the tundra are rapidly drying up as a result of warmer temperatures. Melting permafrost compounds climate change by further releasing additional CO2 and methane into the air. The loss of permafrost also reduces habitat and increases energetic demands on migrating wildlife. Warming events have altered the route...


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