Paper pub. date
June 2012
ISBN 9780870716638 (paperback)
7 x 10 inches, 240 pages. B&W photographs. Index.

Asserting Native Resilience

Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations Face the Climate Crisis

Zoltán Grossman and Alan Parker
Editors Foreword by Billy Frank, Jr.

Indigenous nations are on the frontline of the current climate crisis. With cultures and economies among the most vulnerable to climate-related catastrophes, Native peoples are developing responses to climate change that serve as a model for Native and non-Native communities alike.

Native American nations in the Pacific Northwest, First Nations in Canada, and Indigenous peoples around the Pacific Rim have already been deeply affected by droughts, flooding, reduced glaciers and snowmelts, seasonal shifts in winds and storms, and changes in species on the land and in the ocean. Having survived the historical and ecological wounds inflicted by colonization, industrialization, and urbanization, Indigenous peoples are using tools of resilience that have enabled them to respond to sudden environmental changes and protect the habitat of salmon and other culturally vital species. They are creating defenses to strengthen their communities, mitigate losses, and adapt where possible.

Asserting Native Resilience presents a rich variety of perspectives on Indigenous responses to the climate crisis, reflecting the voices of more than twenty contributors, including Indigenous leaders and Native and non-Native scientists, scholars, and activists from the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Alaska, and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Also included is a resource directory of indigenous governments, non-governmental organizations, and communities that are researching and responding to climate change and a community organizing booklet for use by Northwest tribes.

An invaluable addition to the literature on climate change, Asserting Native Resilience will be useful for students of environmental studies, Native studies, geography, and rural sociology, and will serve as an important reference for indigenous leaders, tribal members, rural planners, and environmental agency staff.

Download the climate change workbook, Northwest Tribes: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change

About the author

Zoltán Grossman is a senior research associate with the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute and a professor of geography and Native American and World Indigenous Peoples Studies at The Evergreen State College.

Read more about this author

Alan Parker is director of the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute and a professor in the graduate MPA program at The Evergreen State College.

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Table of Contents
Lists of Figures and Tables
Tribute to Renée Klosterman
Part 1
Looking Ahead: Northwest Tribes’ Responses to Climate Change
Billy Frank, Jr. (Nisqually), Chair, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
Part 2
A. Cultural Perspectives

B. Indigenous Declarations on the Climate Crisis
Anchorage Declaration of Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on Climate Change;
International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change Policy Paper;
Mystic Lake Declaration of Native Peoples/Native Homelands II Workshop 2009;
Native Peoples/Native Homelands 1998 North American Indigenous Concerns

C. Alaska: Testimony from the Front Lines
Mike Williams (Yupiaq), Co-chair of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council

D. Sharing One Skin
Jeannette Armstrong (Okanagan Syilx), En’owkin Centre Executive Director, Penticton, British Columbia

E. Where Words Touch the Earth: Tribal Students Produce a Climate Change Video on the Coast Salish Moons
Greg Mahle (Upper Skagit) and Lexie Tom (Lummi), Northwest Indian College, Lummi Nation

F. Watching for the Signs
Chief Willie Charlie, Vice President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs; Chehalis (Sts’Ailes), First Nation Chief

G. Different Ways of Looking at Things
Larry Merculieff (Aleut), Seven Generations Consulting, Pribilof Islands, Alaska
Part 3
A. Effects of the Climate Crisis

B. Climate Threats to Pacific Northwest Tribes and the Great Ecological Removal: Keeping Traditions Alive
Terry Williams (Tulalip) and Preston Hardison, Tulalip Tribes natural resources staff

C. Climate Change in the Quileute and Hoh Nations of Coastal Washington
Chelsie Papiez, The Evergreen State College; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fellow

D. Maori Perspectives on Climate Change
Ata Brett Stephenson (Maori), Senior Lecturer in Environmental Sciences at the Maori University Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi

E. Impacts of Global Climate Change
Brad Burnham, The Evergreen State College

F. Effects of Climate Change on Women’s and Children’s Health
Debra McNutt, The Evergreen State College, for the Community Alliance and Peacemaking Project
Part 4
A. Current Responses

B. Indigenous Responses to the International Climate Change Framework
Zoltán Grossman, The Evergreen State College, NIARI Senior Research Associate

C. On Our Own Adapting to Climate Change
Rudolph C. Rÿser (Cowlitz), Chair, Center for World Indigenous Studies

D. Swinomish Climate Change Initiative

E. Pulling Together: Honorable Community Engagement
Shelly Vendiola (Swinomish/Lummi/Filipina), Swinomish Climate Change Initiative’s Climate Change Education and Awareness Group

F. Native Renewable Energy
Part 5
A. Possible Paths

B. Kaua e mangere—Do Not Be Idle: Maori Responses in a Time of Climate Change
Ata Brett Stephenson (Maori), Senior Lecturer in Environmental Sciences at the Maori University Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi

C. Potential Paths for Native Nations
Laural Ballew (Swinomish) and Renée Klosterman, The Evergreen State College

D. No Longer the “Miner’s Canary”: Indigenous Nations’ Responses to Climate Change
Zoltán Grossman, The Evergreen State College, NIARI Senior Research Associate

E. Recommendations to Indigenous Government Leadership
Alan Parker (Chippewa-Cree), The Evergreen State College, NIARI Director
Part 6
A. Native Climate Change Resource Directory: Examples of Model Projects and Groups, Organized around NIARI Recommendations
Jamie Bown, The Evergreen State College, NIARI Research Associate, and Zoltán Grossman, NIARI Senior Research Associate

B. Northwest Tribes: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change
Edited by Debra McNutt, NIARI Research Associate

C. Contributors’ Biographies

“In the times of the unraveling of our world, it is essential to stand against the combustion, mining and disregard for life. Life is in water, air, and relatives who have wings, fins, roots, and paws, and all of them are threatened by climate change--as are people themselves. Grossman and Parker have done an excellent job in telling the stories of climate change, and the people who are standing to make a difference for all of us. Change is indeed made by people, and climate change must be addressed by a movement, strong, strident, and courageous.” —Winona La Duke, executive director of Honor The Earth and White Earth Land Recovery Project

“Evergreen State College Professors Zoltan Grossman and Alan Parker have done the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Rim, including our Tribal nations in the Northwest, a great service by assembling this book. Asserting Native Resilience speaks for the Native people who are the most directly impacted by climate change. We see the glaciers in our beautiful Olympic Mountains disappearing and our salmon and shellfish already hanging by a thread on the edge of extinction. It is past time that our fellow Americans wake up to the reality of climate change, heed the lessons from our sacred teachings, and stop listening to self-serving politicians, scientists, and corporations who want us to continue in a state of denial.”
Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI)

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