Climate Adaptation Science Centers

Native Communities

Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and other indigenous peoples and communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Learn more about how the CASCs are working with tribes and indigenous communities to better understand their specific vulnerabilities to climate change and to help them adapt to these impacts. 

Understanding Climate Change Impacts

For centuries, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, 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 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 Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) are working with tribes and indigenous communities to better understand their specific vulnerabilities to climate change and to help them adapt to these impacts. Learn more about our work with Native Communities using our Project Explorer.

Input & Engagement

Direct input from and engagement with tribal and indigenous communities is crucial for the CASCs to provide the appropriate science needed by these communities. Input is also important so that, when appropriate and acceptable, researchers can understand and consider Traditional Knowledge. Input is, in part, gathered through participation from these communities in the regional CASC Stakeholder Advisory Committees.

Tribal Liaisons

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Geological Survey, and tribal groups have collaborated to station Tribal Resilience Liaisons at the regional CASCs. The liaisons are typically employed by tribal organizations and work at CASCs, and aim to increase the resources available to (1) help tribes access information, data, and expertise at the CASCs and elsewhere; (2) facilitate research integrating traditional knowledge; and (3) support tribal forums and information exchange. These efforts are designed to better understand, communicate, and meet the needs of tribes through partnerships to promote more resilient tribal communities. 

Learn more about our Tribal Resilience Liaisons (PDF)

CASC Name Organization Contact
Alaska Malinda Chase Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association malindac@apiai.org
North Central Stefan Tangen Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance stefan.g.tangen@gmail.com
Northeast (Midwest) Sara Smith College of Menominee Nation ssmith@menominee.edu
Northeast & Southeast Casey Thornbrugh United South and Eastern Tribes Inc. (USET) cthornbrugh@USETINC.org
Northwest Chas Jones Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians cejones@usgs.gov
South Central (OK, TX, LA) April Taylor The Chickasaw Nation April.Taylor@chickasaw.net
South Central (NM) Maurice Cruz University of Oklahoma maurice.p.cruz@ou.edu
Southwest Althea Walker American Indian Higher Education Consortium awalker@aihec.org