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Climate change and indigenous peoples: a synthesis of current impacts and experiences

Kathy Lynn, Carson Viles, Pacific Northwest Research Station (USFS), Kathryn Norton-Smith, Karletta Chief, Karen Cozzetto, Jamie Donatuto, Margaret Hiza Redsteer, Linda E. Kruger, Julie Maldonado, and Kyle P. Whyte
Created: 11/17/2016 - Updated: 1/17/2019


A growing body of literature examines the vulnerability, risk, resilience, and adaptation of indigenous peoples to climate change. This synthesis of literature brings together research pertaining to the impacts of climate change on sovereignty, culture, health, and economies that are currently being experienced by Alaska Native and American Indian tribes and other indigenous communities in the United States. The knowledge and science of how climate change impacts are affecting indigenous peoples contributes to the development of policies, plans, and programs for adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This report defines and describes the key frameworks that inform indigenous understandings of climate change impacts and pathways for adaptation and mitigation, namely, tribal sovereignty and self-determination, culture and cultural identity, and indigenous community health indicators. It also provides a comprehensive synthesis of climate knowledge, science, and strategies that indigenous communities are exploring, as well as an understanding of the gaps in research on these issues. This literature synthesis is intended to make a contribution to future efforts such as the 4th National Climate Assessment, while serving as a resource for future research, tribal and agency climate initiatives, and policy development.

Published On

Monday, October 31, 2016


Tribal / First Nation
Sector Addressed: 
Climate Justice
Conservation / Restoration
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Culture / communities
Habitat/Biome Type: 
Sociopolitical Setting: