Tribal nations are at the forefront of adaptation to climate change in the United States, because of
their reliance upon the natural environment to sustain traditional ways of life yet the current lack of
training and resources to respond to climate change impacts remains a challenge. Working with the
South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC), our team of climate scientists and anthropologists
worked with tribal professionals in Louisiana and New Mexico to increase their basic knowledge of
climate science, connect them with tools to assess their communities’ vulnerabilities, and helped
them build their skills to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies. Our team held biweekly
conference calls in consultation with tribal members and liaisons to develop regionally specific
training materials and to plan meeting structure and logistics. Our team conducted three multi-day
climate training meetings for Native American tribes in Louisiana and New Mexico with 56
attendees representing 20 tribes, mostly tribal environmental professionals. The trainings
emphasized regional scientific and social aspects of climate change that was relevant to the tribal
nations’ land management and planning decisions. Two-day meetings were held in Louisiana one
year apart with the first meeting focused on climate basics and the second was held in a computer
classroom at Louisiana State University (LSU) to provide hands-on computertraining with climate data
and participates generating climate information sheets for their tribes. The New Mexico three-day meeting
was held at Pueblo Jemez and included spiritual and tribal leaders, a water
blessing ceremony, and a butterfly dance demonstration by the Pueblo’s kindergarten class.
Our anthropologist made observations and conducted interviews with all participants during and
after the meetings to assess interactions between science and traditional knowledge information transfer.
The participants of the training meetings self-report they gained knowledge from these trainings and expressed
their desire for additional trainings.
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