Leaders say climate is changing Native way of life
NBC News, 20 July 2012

WASHINGTON DC, USA: Native American and Alaska Native leaders told of their villages being under water because of coastal erosion, droughts and more during a US Senate hearing intended to draw attention to how climate change is affecting tribal communities. While it was acknowledged that environmental changes are widespread, native communities are disproportionately impacted because they depend on nature for traditional food, sacred sites, and for cultural ceremonies. Several tribes already are coming up with plans to adapt to the changes and federal agencies are assisting with resources. Mike Williams, chief of the Yupit Nation in Akiak, Alaska, said Congress needs to come up with a strategic plan to address the impact to help ensure Alaska Natives and American Indian tribes continue to exist. He said in coming up with the plan, Congress should consider Native practices and traditional knowledge. Read the article …

Climate Change First Responders: Native Americans
Discovery news, 17 July 2012

WASHINGTON, USA: Native American tribes are teaming up with climate scientists to monitor environmental changes along the coast, changes that are disrupting indigenous ways of life that tribes say are key to their survival. Tribal leaders say their understanding of natural ecosystems such as long-term weather patterns or wildlife migrations can be just as important as CO2 measurements or satellite data. “The long term perspective of our people has scientific value,” said Micah McCarty, chairman of the Makah Tribe in Neah Bay, Washington. “We can establish a more holistic baseline of the big picture of things. Some scientists may be more narrowly focused and have an excellent perspective, but we have a broader perspective to draw from. That’s a value.” Read the article …