Collaboration in Action: Using the Menominee Model of Sustainability to Assess, Plan, and Build Capacity for Tribal Communities to Address Climate Change in the Northeast Climate Science Center Region

Project Type: 
Core Research Project
Project Leader: 
Research Partners: 
Kyle Powys Whyte, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University (MSU); Jason Komanekin, CMN Student.
Project Fellows: 
Status: 
Ongoing
Science Themes: 

This project seeks to implement the recommendations included in Science Theme 6: "Impacts of climate variability and change on cultural resources" of the NECSC Strategic Science Agenda as a baseline for future efforts in the Northeast region. Tribal nations (Tribes) in the Northeast region face different challenges and opportunities regarding climate change impacts. Each Tribe is unique in terms of its cultural, economic, geographic, jurisdictional, social, and political situation. As sovereign governments exercising self-determination, Tribes will have greater capacity to adapt if they are able to determine how climate science research can serve their governance priorities. Fulfilling the Theme 6 recommendations of the NECSC Strategic Science Agenda, then, requires a project that respects the uniqueness and self-determination of Tribes in the Northeast region. This project will provide assessment for Tribes of strengths and vulnerabilities to climate change to better link NE CSC and other resources to address tribally identified issues.

The goals of this project are to support Tribal efforts to (A) create awareness about climate change impacts on Tribes in the Northeast region and (B) develop a set of working ideas about what capacities are needed for Tribes to adapt and to mitigate climate change impacts. The climate change impacts in (A) will range from threats to the continuance of Tribal cultural activities such as ceremonies to new challenges for Tribal mixed subsistence and commercial economies. The working ideas in (B) include both solutions that individual Tribes can pursue independently through the development of policies that primarily affect Tribal members and cooperative solutions that require Tribes to work with a range of national, regional and local governmental and nongovernmental partners.  Project Outcomes: 1) Report on Recommending the Role of the NE CSC in supporting Tribal scenario development; 2) Review of existing published literature that fulfills the recommendations in the Strategic Science Agenda.

We have recently been conducting tribal site visits. These specific results are being tracked and reported on under the "Supporting Tribal Relations" grant project, but we do have a few results we are looking at in this project: the tribal site visits have yielded a number of different activities, which range from the development of scenarios with the respective Tribes, to assisting with the development of climate education materials for community and K-12 initiatives. At this point of the project, the biggest issue we are looking at is how we begin to pull in other consortium members of NE CSC to not just learn about Tribes, but consider the development of partnerships and projects. The current base funded initatives were necessary to build towards that, but we are at a juncture where getting specific is the key.

Additionally, Project Director Caldwell is now participating in two advisory committee/boards, one for the Northern Arizona University's (NAU) Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) development of tribal leadership training, and the other with the new GLISA Advisory Board. These activities provide opportunities to learn more about Tribal needs around the country but also provide connections from the NE CSC work into these other initatives.

Presentations: 
  • Chris Caldwell and Marie Schaefer, presented the webinar “Building Tribal Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation” as part of the 2014 NE CSC webinar series on December 3, 2014.

  • Chris Caldwell, attended “Donning Our Regalia: Maintaining Tradition in an Age of Modernity” workshop at University in British Columbia on December 8-11, 2014.

  • Chris Caldwell, Marie Schaefer, and Paul Barten (U-Mass Faculty, Five Colleges Consortium member). Dr. Barten visited CMN campus as an introduction to start work with the Five Colleges Indigenous Studies program. Keshena WI, December 18, 2014.

  • Chris Caldwell and Marie Schaefer. Presented the project work for joint faculty and staff from the Five Colleges Consortium Indigenous Studies program, indigenous non-profit representatives, and NE CSC consortium members. Amherst MA, February 19, 2015.

  • Chris Caldwell, Roundtable Discussions: Tribal Colleges/Universities. CMN Faculty were convened as part of an in-service day and the SDI model was presented to behin discussion on sustainability, and what it meant to CMN serving the community in many roles, including climate change issues. February 2015.

  • Chris Caldwell, Tribal and Community Colleges: Education, Equity, and Climate Change. Chris Caldwell attended and presented College of Menominee Nation Work on Tribes and Climate Change. National Adaptation Forum: Action today for a better tomorrow, St. Louis, MO. May 12-14, 2015.

  • Marie Schaefer, participated in "Researcher and Community Engagement: the Politics of Doing Research" panel. "Collaboration in Action: Building Bridges between Tribes and Climate Scientists," Society for Applied Anthropology, Pittsburgh, PA. March 26, 2015.

  • Marie Schaefer, Presentation on CMN/SDI Tribal Climate Change Initiatives. "Rising Voices III: Learning and Doing--Education and Adaptation through Diverse Ways of Knowing."  Boulder, CO, June 29-July 1, 2015.

  • Chris Caldwell, "Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change," attended as a facilitator. Penn State SCRiM Sustainable Climate Science Summer School, Penn State, PA. August 3-8, 2015.

  • Hosted NE CSC Fellows Retreat - College of Menominee Nation, September 23rd, 2015.

  • Marie Schaefer participated in Manoomin (Wild Rice) Symposium hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and University of Minnesota, September 28th-29th, 2015.

  • Citralina Huaro (CMN Student intern), "Agricultural Research and Climate Change." First Americans Land-Grant Consortium, Denver, CO. November 6-8, 2015.

  • Marie Schaefer participated in Upper Midwest Great Lakes LCC Steering Committee, November 19th, 2015.

  • Marie Schaefer, “Indigenous Networks and Climate Chage”. American Anthropological Association, Denver, CO. November 21, 2015. (NE CSC funded).

  • CMNSDI Advisory Council meeting, January 2016.

  • Chris Caldwell, MSU Law School event "Indigenous Communities and Climate Change."

  • USET Impact week meeting February 8-10, 2016.

  • Chris Caldwell participated as a new Advisory Board member with Great Lakes Integrated Science and Assessment (GLISA) at University of Michigan February 17, 2016. 

  • Tribal Climate Boot Camp, June 20-23, 2016, McCall Idaho, Chris Caldwell led a session on Strategic Planning, and served as a team mentor.

  • Chris Caldwell presented at BIA Midwest regional Partners in Action meeting in Sault Ste. Marie on July 25, 2016

  • Chris Caldwell and Kyle Whyte co-facilitated a Tribes and climate change session at the Penn State led SCRiM Summer School August 15-19, 2016 (funded by Penn State SCRiM) 

  • Marie Schaefer attended the Rising Voices IV meeting in Hawaii, July 5-9, 2016 to talk about the "Sustaining Indigenous Voices for the National Climate Assessment" efforts we have started with SKC and BIA, leveraged from the existing NE CSC work                      

Other: 
  • News: Building Bridges Between Tribes and Climate Scientists. February 20, 2015.

  • Website-Collaboration in Action: Building Bridges Between Tribes and Climate Change (In Development). Scientists will serve as a best practices resourse for scientists looking to work with Tribes, especially in the Northeast. It will also serve as a resource for Tribal governments, Tribal institutions, and Tribal members to gather relevant information on climate change.

  • Tribal Site Visits: Site Grand Traverse Bay Band of Odawa, and Little Traverse Bay Brand Indians in May. Worked to provide LTBB with beginning thoughts on development of curriculum for Tribal Youth Summer camp.

  • Tribal Site Visits: Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi and Little River Band of Ottaway, September 11-13.