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Unique Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the U.S.

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  • UserKarletta Chief (University of Arizona)
  • ClockThursday 05 November 2020, 16:00-17:00
  • HouseZoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Oliver Shorttle.

This presentation provides an overview of climate change impacts on tribal water resources and the subsequent cascading effects on livelihoods and cultures of American Indians and Alaska Natives living on tribal lands in the U.S. It first presents a hazards and vulnerability framework for understanding these impacts. Next the article provides context on the framework components including climate, hydrologic, and ecosystem changes (i.e. hazards) and tribe-specific vulnerability factors (socioeconomic, political, infrastructural, environmental, spiritual and cultural), which when combined with hazards lead to impacts. The article finishes with regional summaries of impacts around the U.S. Although each tribal community experiences their own impacts because of their individual history, culture, and geographic setting, many of the observed impacts are categorized as impacts on – 1) water supply and management (including water sources and infrastructure), 2) aquatic species important for culture and subsistence, 3) ranching and agriculture particularly from climate extremes (e.g. droughts, floods), 4) tribal sovereignty and rights associated with water resources, fishing, hunting, and gathering, and 5) soil quality (e.g. coastal and, in Alaska, riverine erosion, degradation) prompting tribal relocation.

Key Terms: climate change impacts, Native Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, tribes, water resources, vulnerability, climate variability, hazards.

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