Native American tribes are disproportionately more vulnerable to climate-related hazards, such as coastal erosion, heatwaves and extreme weather, according to numerous reports cited by PBS NewsHour. This is partially due to the fact that many reservations struggle with poverty and unemployment, thus, they do not have the resources to allocate to climate change adaptation measures.
However, those tribes which have sovereign nation status can implement local initiatives and models for environment management. For example, the Swinomish tribe, have their own climate adaptation plan. In addition, tribal governments would like to be able to influence federal decision making on climate change issues.
"There needs to be more "recognition from western science of the value of traditional ecological knowledge, so we need to look at how we can better inform the government of what tribal leaders bring to the table in regard to responding to climate change," said Micah McCarty, who represented the Makah tribe at the First Stewards symposium. Mr McCarty was talking at a a panel discussion on how Native American tribes are coping with climate change.
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