Building climate resilience on Tribal lands

Photo of peaks

Networking and developing trusting partnerships are key to sustaining professional working relationships. Thanks to a long-time partner, the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) received a generous three-year grant from the Bay and Paul Foundations to support the Tribes and Climate Change Program (TCCP). ITEP, one of five programs housed under the Office of Native American Initiatives (ONAI), was created to facilitate collaborations among tribal government, NAU, federal, state and local governments and the private sector. Their work supports the environmental protection of Indigenous and Tribal natural resources.  

With the recently received funding, ITEP’s TCCP will develop and facilitate two programs to build climate resilience and capacity within Indigenous communities. The first will engage and emphasize intergenerational teachings between elders and youth to pass on cultural teachings, language and traditional ecological knowledge by recruiting Indigenous climate interns who are current college or university students. These Indigenous climate interns will work with the TCCP staff to learn about climate-related activities and efforts led by Indigenous communities nationwide through ITEP’s existing programmatic activities. In addition, a summer cohort of Indigenous interns will work directly with Tribal and Indigenous hosts across the country to work on projects specifically benefiting the Tribes’ climate resilience efforts. ITEP plans to recruit and train up to eight interns: two during the school year and up to six interns for the summer. 

The second program provides a unique opportunity for TCCP to build an international cohort of Indigenous practitioners who want to learn more about climate change adaptation and mitigation to address impacts in their own communities. This virtual cohort would emphasize peer-to-peer learning and an educational exchange of knowledge using a climate change adaptation curriculum that the TCCP specifically creates for international Indigenous communities. TCCP staff will develop materials based on their existing climate adaptation and mitigation courses. Due to funding restrictions, ITEP has been unable to dedicate resources to an international curriculum.

“We appreciate strong partnerships such as the one with the Bay and Paul Foundations to build our programs for seven generations to come,” said Ann Marie Chischilly, ONAI vice president. 

ITEP plans to release applications for the Indigenous student interns and international Indigenous cohort later this year.  

Learn more about the Tribes and Climate Change program at ITEP. 

NAU Communications