map of tribal lands in SE US

Tribal Partners

The Southeast is home to several federally recognized Tribal Nations as well as many state-recognized Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities.

For centuries, Native Americans, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and other Indigenous peoples and communities have relied on natural resources to sustain their families, communities, traditional ways of life, and cultural identities. This important relationship with both land and water ecosystems makes Indigenous people and cultures particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which can include drought, increased wildfires and extreme weather, sea-level rise and melting glaciers.

The National Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCASC) and the DOI Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) are working with Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities to better understand their specific vulnerabilities to climate change and to help them adapt to these impacts. This work is conducted through research projects, outreach events, training workshops, stakeholder meetings, youth internships, and other coordination activities.

Input & Engagement

The Tribal Climate Science Liaison for the Southeast and Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Centers is Casey Thornbrugh. View Casey’s staff profile here.

Direct input from and engagement with tribal nations and indigenous communities is crucial for the NCASC and CASCs to provide the appropriate science needed by these partners. Input is also important so that, when appropriate and acceptable, researchers can understand and consider Traditional Knowledges. Input is, in part, gathered through participation from these communities in the regional CASC Stakeholder Advisory Committees and the national Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science. CASCs have also engaged with native communities through efforts such as inter-tribal workshops and climate related training classes in the South Central U.S., education and networking meetings in the Northeast, and interviews with tribal elders in the Northwest.

Tribal Climate Science Liaisons at the CASCs help identify climate information and research needs of Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities and work with federal partners to address those needs. The Tribal Climate Science Liaisons serve as a technical experts on climate change issues, resource vulnerability, and climate adaptation actions to Tribal nations across the Department of Interior’s Climate Adaptation Science Center regions.

Upcoming Events:

December 10-12, 2019

Climate Adaptation Plan Writing Retreat | Gloucester, MA

More information

May 4-8, 2020

38th annual Native American Fish and Wildlife Society conference | Miami, Florida

More information