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PAGE 125 III. CURRENT RESPONSES mate change—as they must. This ends up being a very significant problem for Indigenous people worldwide. This is true since they are faced with the threats and the realities of human-induced climate change. Indigenous peoples are not being asked nor are they vigorously offering themselves to act in the capacity as governing authorities, as regulators and standard setters, but it is apparent that if they do not, they risk marginalization at best and exploitation to their detriment at worst. Adaptation and responses to the adverse affects of climate requires firm leadership, sustained responses, and steady negotiations to ensure the tribal social, economic , political, and cultural survival—in other words, Indigenous governments acting as sovereign powers. Tribal peoples must reach into their cultural toolbox to draw out resources that will enable them to adapt to climate change challenges internally. At the same time they must meet the challenge of negotiating with neighboring peoples and institutions to prevent encroachments on their sovereign powers. In the face of a growing interest to participate in the global and regional climate change dialogue, representatives from Indigenous nations or organizations attending international conferences demand to be heard. They call on states’ government officials to hear them and most particularly hear that they possess traditional knowledge that must be a part of the dialogue. Indigenous representatives have a problem when they are asked to share that knowledge—to explain what that traditional knowledge is and how it can enrich the debate about responses to changing climate. Too often, proponents of traditional knowledge fall silent about the actual content of their traditional knowledge, leaving the debate to conventional scientists and states’ government political leaders. Instead of falling silent, Indigenous representatives should be prepared to step forward with constructive analysis and proposals. Traditional knowledge is a resource held within all Indigenous communities, yet for many reasons we have often not been able to explore and apply this knowledge to the issue of climate change. This may occur for several reasons: 1) this knowledge may be held secret or protected; or conversely, it may be lost or in the process of being forgotten. 2) similarly, because traditional knowledge has not been valued by conventional science or has been relegated to a secondary or adjunctive model, many people feel hesitant to proffer information that will be rejected, and finally, 3) since traditional knowledge is often locally specific it has not been shared or tested across communities. Now is the time to overcome all of these obstacles and to Issues (UNPFII). 2008b. Guide on Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples. php/content/160-2nd-edition-of-guide-on-climatechange -and-indigenous-peoples-now-released United States Department of State. 2010. Announcement of U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, December 16. http://www.state. gov/ documents/organization/153223.pdf Watt-Cloutier, Sheila. 2004. Climate Change and Human Rights—Human Rights Dialogue: Environmental Rights. Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs 2(1) http://www. dialogue/2_11/section_1/4445.html World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. 2010. People’s Agreement of Cochabamba. Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 22. ON OUR OWN: ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE Finding an Internal and an Intergovernmental Framework for an Adaptation Strategy Rudolph C. Rÿser Dr. Rudolph C. Rÿser is chair of the Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS) in Olympia, Washington. Editors’ note: This essay derives from an interview with Dr. Rÿser conducted by Zoltán Grossman on October 5, 2009; the interview was transcribed by Courtney Hayden and revised by Dr. Rÿser. 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. The climate change issue is fundamentally an issue of Indigenous peoples’ sovereignty, cutting across virtually every topic of importance to a society. Without exercising authority to define risks and vulnerabilities across a wide range of interrelated parts in a society (as any tribal community might want to do), Indigenous nations cannot establish themselves as regulators or set standards that respond to the adverse affects of cli- PAGE 126 ASSERTING NATIVE RESILIENCE: PACIFIC RIM INDIGENOUS NATIONS FACE THE CLIMATE CRISIS tionships that the culture permits people to have with...


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