Adapting to a Changing Climate: Sicangu Lakota Oyate

Sicangu Climate Crisis Working Group (SCCWG)
Posted on: 6/05/2023 - Updated on: 11/06/2023

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This Climate Adaptation Plan for the Sicangu Lakota Oyate was created by the Sicangu Lakota (Rosebud Sioux) along with partners including the Tribal Data Sovereignty Initiative and Lark Environmental, Inc. with technical support from the North Central CASC and South Dakota State University.

This plan explores:

  1. Current climate trends the Oyate have observed
  2. Projected trends that may occur within the next generation
  3. A list of key climate indicators and their expected impacts to the Oyate's health and well-being, housing, infrastructure, culture, and water among others

Identifying the path forward would not be complete without talking with the Sicangu Lakota Oyate and listening to their experiences, concerns, and ideas for the future. Throughout the late spring of 2021 and into the early spring of 2022, there was a concerted effort to sit with the Sicangu Lakota Oyate and gather their thoughts. Community meetings were held, a community survey was distributed, talks with elders occurred, and interviews with tribal department heads were conducted. The Sicangu Lakota Oyate know the climate is changing, they have witnessed and experienced the changes and pulling from their experiences and traditional knowledge, they have ideas for the future.

With the guidance from the Sicangu Lakota Oyate in mind, the SCCWG identified three major concerns for the Oyate as climate change intensifies:

  • Protecting the Oyate - Risks to the life and property of the Sicangu people, and to elements of their culture -- special places, medicines, traditional foods, etc.
  • Protecting and Wisely Using Our Water – Risks to our water. While Sicangu Makoce has adequate water, the future will bring droughts, floods, huge rainstorms, and perhaps attempts to take the water. The Oyate must adapt.
  • Protecting the Land and Living Relatives - Risks to Sicangu Makoce and our living relatives. Changing temperature and precipitation will change the landscape around us, and with these changes will come different plants and animals, and probably changes to grass production which feeds buffalo, wildlife, cattle and sheep.

From these concerns, SCCWG has identified key recommendations as of overriding importance and urgency for action for the Sicangu Lakota Oyate.

Watch an NC CASC webinar presented by Phil Two Eagle, Paula Antoine, and Robin O'Malley on the topic of the Rosebud Sioux Climate Adaptation Plan.


Adapting to a Changing Climate: Sicangu Lakota Oyate, 2022, Sicangu Climate Crisis Working Group, Rosebud Sioux Tribe. 

Affiliated Organizations

Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Tribal Data Sovereignty Initiative, Lark Environmental, Inc.

Affiliated Organizations

Established in 2011, the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (NC CSC) is a partnership between the US Geological Survey, the University of Colorado Boulder and five consortium partners. The NC CASC fosters innovative and applied research in support of tribal, federal, state, and local natural resource management and decision-making.

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