Tribal leaders discussed the impacts of climate change at NCAI

Nov 4, 2022

by Rhonda LeValdo

Tribal leaders discussed the impacts of climate change at the National Congress of American Indians annual convention Thursday in Sacramento, CA.

As Rhonda LeValdo reports, tribal communities located in coastal areas say their communities are going underwater.

Tribal nations on the west coast are being affected by climate change in regard to coastal erosion.

The Shoalwater Bay Tribe in Washington has seen lands eroded by rising waters. 

Charlene Nelson, tribal chairwoman says their decision to move the tribes is in the best interest of the people.

“I think they’ll like it. I think they will be able to have more say in what’s being built. I think it can become kind of exciting and it will be for them and anybody who comes after them because that’s what we need to think about. We want our tribe to survive. All tribes are survivors and we want our tribe to survive.”

Mike Williams Yupiit Nation of Akiak Native Community in Alaska explains how warmer temperatures affect his people.

“Fall time is when we see a lot and we just had a recent Merbok disaster impact and we prepared for it. I think we seen like 30 yards of erosion during that recent storm.”

Work is being done in the federal government to streamline applying for aid in these natural disasters for tribes, which can’t come fast enough.