Indigenous communities on reservation lands across the USA continue to demonstrate their leadership in climate resilience through active engagement in co-producing interdisciplinary solutions to adaptation. These initiatives, however, often ask Indigenous peoples to provide knowledge and resources to assist with adaptation eforts beyond their communities, which can limit their capacity to act locally. Trusting their expertise, we utilize a participatory research approach that asks tribal government employees, agriculturalists, researchers, and outreach professionals to prioritize the climate information and data they perceive as necessary to enhance the climate resilience of water resources of Indigenous communities. In doing so, this study provides empirical evidence specifc to the climate adaptation needs of Indigenous communities on reservation lands in the arid southwestern USA. Study respondents prioritize climate information and data that serve to assess local climate change impacts, enhance food security, and integrate and protect the traditional knowledge of their communities. In this arid and predominantly rural region, respondents prioritize water quality data as their highest need followed by streamfow and air temperature data. They most frequently access their respective tribal government sources of climate information and data. These results indicate that localized climate data and information are highly prioritized. Future research and action to alleviate information and data gaps should account for the relevance, accessibility, and protection of these resources while prioritizing methods that ensure Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination rather than knowledge extraction.

Fillmore, H. and Singletary, L. 2021, Climate data and information needs of indigenous communities on reservation lands: insights from stakeholders in the Southwestern United States. , Climatic Change, 169(37)

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Associated Programs

Enhancing climate resilience on tribal lands

Native Waters on Arid Lands

Native Waters on Arid Lands is a five-year (2015-2020) project that partners researchers and extension experts with tribal communities in the Great Basin and American Southwest to collaboratively understand the impacts of climate change, and to evaluate adaptation options for sustaining water resources and agriculture.