Indigenous Peoples, Lands, and Resources. In Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment

T.M. Bull Bennett, Nancy G. Maynard, Patricia Cochran, Robert Gough, Julie Maldonado, Garrit Voggesser, Susan Wotkyns, Karen Cozzetto
Posted on: 6/22/2016 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

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Key Messages

  1. Observed and future impacts from climate change threaten Native Peoples’ access to traditional foods such as fish, game, and wild and cultivated crops, which have provided sustenance as well as cultural, economic, medicinal, and community health for generations.
  2. A significant decrease in water quality and quantity due to a variety of factors, including climate change, is affecting drinking water, food, and cultures. Native communities’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to adapt to water-related challenges are exacerbated by historical and contemporary government policies and poor socioeconomic conditions.
  3. Declining sea ice in Alaska is causing significant impacts to Native communities, including increasingly risky travel and hunting conditions, damage and loss to settlements, food insecurity, and socioeconomic and health impacts from loss of cultures, traditional knowledge, and homelands.
  4. Alaska Native communities are increasingly exposed to health and livelihood hazards from increasing temperatures and thawing permafrost, which are damaging critical infrastructure, adding to other stressors on traditional lifestyles. 5. Climate change related impacts are forcing relocation of tribal and indigenous communities, especially in coastal locations. These relocations, and the lack of governance mechanisms or funding to support them, are causing loss of community and culture, health impacts, and economic decline, further exacerbating tribal impoverishment.


Document Type
Sociopolitical Setting
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy