Paulette Blanchard, A.A, B.A.* - Oklahoma University Geography & Environmental Sustainability
Renee McPherson, Phd - Climatological Survey, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Oklahoma tribal representatives convened for a meeting on December 12, 2011 to 1) enhance and foster dialogue between tribal representatives and climate scientists that was previously initiated through two statewide meetings in which tribal representatives were invited and some attended, 2) educate tribal representatives about climate science and climate change, and 3) develop recommendations for material to be included in the 2013 National Climate Assessment. Hosted by the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center at Haskell Indian Nations University, in collaboration with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey and Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, the meeting brought together representatives of 22 tribal nations and three tribal colleges.
This presentation will include findings from the meeting's breakout session in which tribal representatives discussed the impacts of climate variability and change on tribal sectors and cultures, and long term recommendations for implementing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. Currently, drought and heat constitute tremendous climate stressors and impact water resources, ecology, human health, agricultural practices, and energy supply and use. In fact, water resources were seen as the most important sector since water is vital for agriculture and many ceremonial practices. The ability to gather certain plants and food was described as very important for ceremonies, and potentially vulnerable to a changing climate. Moving forward, representatives were interested in working with state and federal partners to use more climate change data and information, considering indigenous perspectives, and increasing their capacity through formal and informal education to make adaptation and mitigation decisions.