The University of Arizona

Building Partnerships with Native Americans in Climate-Related Research and Outreach | CLIMAS

Building Partnerships with Native Americans in Climate-Related Research and Outreach

TitleBuilding Partnerships with Native Americans in Climate-Related Research and Outreach
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsAustin, D, Gerlak, S, Smith, C
Series TitleCLIMAS Report Series
Document NumberCL2-00
InstitutionClimate Assessment for the Southwest, University of Arizona
CityTucson, AZ

Humans are affected by climate, both microclimatic events such as a rainstorm and global climate changes in temperature. However, climate effects are so pervasive that often they go unnoticed. Where humans live, how they live, and when they perform seasonal activities such as planting crops and plowing sidewalks all are determined by climate. As long-time residents of North America, Native Americans have much to offer in both knowledge of climatic variation and strategies for coping with change. Native American tribes and tribal organizations are unique and important partners to those doing climate-related research and outreach, especially in the Southwest. Consequently, one aim of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-funded Southwest Climate Assessment Project (CLIMAS) is to include Native Americans and their concerns in all projects for which they have an interest. Tribes have a direct government-to-government relationship with the U.S. government wherein no decisions about their lands and people are made without their consent. In Arizona, for example, American Indian reservations occupy nearly 30 percent of the land. Native Americans have a legal and moral claim to significant quantities of water as well. Because of their special legal standing in the United States, tribes are not just another group of stakeholders to be considered in the research and policy process. The purpose of this paper is to provide a legal and political background for interactions between the United States and tribal governments and provide models for those interactions, with special attention to research and outreach. Because climate-related initiatives frequently include persons with university affiliations, one section is devoted to university policies governing research and outreach in Indian Country.