Reviewing how native peoples will deal with climate change

 

Editors Note: This piece is cross posted from Mother Earth Journal, where reporter Terri Hansen writes about indigenous people and the environment.

Extreme weather events forced an awareness of urgent climate disruptions this year, with July 2012 being the hottest month on record – hotter even than the Dust Bowl’s July 1936.The science tells us climate changes would be abrupt and include extreme weather events. The book, Asserting Native Resilience – Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations Face the Climate Crisis, issued June 1, 2012, couldn’t be more timely. In the book’s introduction editors Zoltán Grossman and Alan Parker tell us, “Climate change is already here.”

Grossman, a professor of Geography and Native American and World Indigenous Peoples Studies at The Evergreen State College (TESC) in Olympia, Wash., and Parker, a Chippewa Cree tribal citizen and Professor of Advanced Studies in Tribal Governments, and executive director of the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute at TESC, write, “The people of the world, and especially Native communities, no longer have five to 10 years to begin planning. We must begin today!

The editors maintain, “Indigenous nations are on the front line of the climate crisis. With cultures and economies among the most vulnerable to climate-related catastrophes, Native peoples are developing twenty-first century responses to climate change that serve as a model for Native and non-Native communities alike.” Climate change threatens health, culture, livelihoods, species migration and traditional foods for place-based communities, the availability of fresh water, and oceans with increasing acidity (think of it as turning into a cola drink).

This comprehensive book focuses on Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Rim already deeply affected by droughts, flooding, reduced glaciers and snowmelts, seasonal shifts in winds and storms, and the northward movement of species on the land and in the ocean. The book describes how, using tools of resilience, Native peoples are creating defenses to strengthen their communities, mitigate losses, and adapt where possible. Asserting Native Resilience presents a rich variety of perspectives on Indigenous responses to the climate crisis.

The anthology’s foreword is written by Nisqually treaty rights leader Billy Frank, Jr. Chapters, authored by more than twenty contributors including tribal leaders, scientists, scholars, and activists from the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Alaska, and Aotearoa/New Zealand, and beyond explain the effects of the climate crisis, interpreting the science into language non-scientific readers can understand. They cover the current response plans created by tribal nations, possible paths, and give us cultural perspectives. A resource directory of Indigenous governments, NGOs, and communities is also included, as well as a community organizing booklet for use by Northwest tribes. Winona LaDuke’s endorsement of the book includes, “Life is in water, air, and relatives who have wings, fins, roots, and paws, and all of them are threatened by climate change–as are people themselves. Parker and Grossman have done an excellent job in telling the stories of climate change, and the people who are standing to make a difference for all of us.”

The book, published by Oregon State University Press is available in paperback in bookstores for $24.95. Or call 1-800-621-2736, or visit online to order: http://osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/asserting-native-resilience. For more information, read an interview with the editors.

Essays in the Range blog are not written by the High Country News. The authors are solely responsible for the content.

High Country News Classifieds
  • WATER POLICY ANALYST WITH WRA (BOULDER)
    Position Summary: Western Resource Advocates seeks a passionate Water Policy Analyst with knowledge of western water issues to join our Healthy Rivers Team to strengthen...
  • GILA NATIONAL FOREST
    9+ acre inholding. Passive solar strawbale off the grid and next to the Continental Divide Trail in ponderosa pine/doug fir forest at 7400.
  • HIRING BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER DIRECTOR
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring an Education Center Director to oversee the operation of the Bears Ears Education Center....
  • PROGRAM MANAGER, SUSTAINING FLOWS
    Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - VERDE RIVER EXCHANGE
    Verde River Exchange - Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • CODE COMPLIANCE OFFICER
    Teton County Planning & Building is hiring! Our ideal candidate is a team-player, a problem-solver, pays attention to detail, and can clearly communicate technical material...
  • ARCHITECTURE DRAFTSPERSON/PROJECT MANAGER
    Studio Architects is seeking a full time Architectural drafts-person/project manager with1-3 years of experience to join our firm. At Studio Architects our mission is to...
  • ASSISTANT MANAGER/TRAINEE, COLORADO RANCH
    needed for 16,000+ acre conservation property in south central Colorado. Qualified candidate would have experience working on a ranch or wilderness property, general forestry/fire management...
  • FARM HAND &/OR NANNY IN ESCALANTE
    Nanny for 18-mnth-old. Yearly salary, vacation, health insurance. Spanish/other foreign-language native spkr prefrrd.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Washington Association of Land Trusts seeks an ED to build on WALTs significant success & to lead the association to new levels of achievement. See...
  • BEAUTIFUL CUSTOM STRAWBALE HOME IN WESTERN COLORADO!
    Secluded, energy efficient Southwestern home on 40 wooded acres. Broker - Rand Porter - United Country Real Colorado Properties. 970-261-1248, $425K
  • FORMER RETREAT CENTER/CONSERVATION PROPERTY FOR SALE
    57 acres in Skull Valley, AZ, 17 miles from Prescott, year-round creek, swimming holes, secluded canyon, hiking/meditation trails, oaks, pines, garden, greenhouse. House, office building,...
  • ARIZONA PUBLIC LANDS ORGANIZER
    Title: Public Lands Organizer About the Arizona Wildlife Federation (AWF) The AWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and assisting individuals and organizations...
  • HISTORIC RANCH HOME W/ 20 ACRES
    Historic 1893 Ranch Headquarters. 4 Bdrm, 3.5 Ba, 4000 ft2. Remodeled 2002. Includes 2 studio apts, stables, arena, workshop, 5 RV hookups. Chirachua & Peloncillo...
  • VICE PRESIDENT OF RETAIL OPERATIONS
    The Vice President of Retail Operations will provide overall leadership and accountability for purchasing, product development, merchandising planning, visual merchandising, retail operational excellence, oversight and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners seeks an experienced fundraiser with excellent communication and organizational skills.
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    position in Phoenix with the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy.
  • ROADS END CABIN NEAR YELLOWSTONE
    Vaulted ceilings, two fireplaces, two bedrooms, loft, jetted tub, wifi. Forest, mountain views. Wildlife. [email protected]
  • ACCOUNTING CLERK
    Our director is seeking to employ the services of an Accounting Clerk to assist with various accounting and administrative tasks. This is a great opportunity...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMUNITY RADIO PROJECT
    Community Radio Project, Cortez, CO (KSJD & the Sunflower Theatre). Visit ksjd.org and click on the Executive Director search link. CRP is an EOE.