Nicki attends a Climate Adaption Planning Workshop in Anacortes, Washington

Learning more about the way tribal nations are responding to climate change was the key focus for Environment Manager Nicki Douglas at the Adaption Planning Workshop in Anacortes, Washington last month.

Te Urunga o Kea (Te Arawa Climate Change Group) has formed a special relationship with the University of Northern Arizona and the Indigenous Training and Education Partnership, who delivered the workshop.

“The University of Northern Arizona team has been supporting tribal nations to undertake research and planning for climate change and adaption for more than a decade. As a result, the workshop was a great opportunity to learn from those who are leading the way in the indigenous approach.”

One initiative is the Climate Network, which consists of 50 tribal nations, about 500 people and two employees. Each year they run a climate camp which sees many of the tribes getting together to share, learn and plan scenarios.

Nicki says many of the experiences and insights experienced by tribal nations in the US are similar to Aotearoa, including the challenge of integrating a range of issues into one plan.

“Biodiversity is at the centre of many of these plans, as it is part of the whakapapa and way of life of the tribes.

“There was a wonderful cultural values framework developed for Swinomish that reminded me of Te Tūāpapa. They are now into the measuring and monitoring phase.”

Another initiative developed by some of the tribes is a geographic tool that can idenitify the key impacts their tribal areas may face.

“The adapation planning process is largely the direction we have taken in Te Arawa and the next key step is prioritising and developing action plans.”

Te Urunga o Kea is continuing to develop its strategy and move towards adaptation planning as we start to be clearer about Te Arawa priorities.

“We can also implement some of the intiatives that have proven successful for our indigenous cousins across the globe.”