The Climate Change and Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations project was initiated by the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute (NIARI) at The Evergreen State College (Olympia, Wash.) in 2006. Its purpose is to document the existing effects of climate change on Indigenous peoples and their homelands in Pacific Rim countries, describes examples of Indigenous nation responses to local circumstances and at the international level, and recommends future paths for Indigenous nation governments to consider. Particular emphasis is given to discussing options for Indigenous nations to join together to influence the global discourse on strategies to address climate change and the causes of global warming and adaptation strategies in response to its inevitable impacts. The climate change research includes participation by Maori in Aotearoa (New Zealand), Native Alaskans, First Nations in Western Canada, and U.S. tribal nations in the Pacific Basin states.

The Climate Change study is intended to support an international strategy for the development of an Indigenous nation-to-nation Pacific Rim treaty agreement, signed in 2007 in the Lummi Nation by indigenous government representatives from the U.S., Alaska, Canada, Australia and Aotearoa (New Zealand). The United League of Indigenous Nations Treaty serves as a structure to address major issues and challenges that are common to the nations including, most particularly joint action plans that address the impacts of climate change on Indigenous nations of the Pacific Rim.

Evergreen State College faculty Alan Parker (NIARI Director) and Zoltan Grossman collaborated in organizing and compiling the research for the 2006 NIARI report Climate Change and Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations: A Report to the Leadership of Indigenous Nations (2 MB). They were joined by Tulalip tribal natural resource staff Terry Williams and Preston Hardison, Maori environmental scientist Brett Stephenson, faculty at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi (Maori University) and Evergreen graduate students. The 81-page report offers key recommendations to Indigenous nation leadership on possible strategies to confront, mitigate or adapt to the impacts of climate change:

1. Educate tribal membership on the present and future effects of climate change on their own homelands.

2. Secure sources of fresh water now to meet future needs of tribal communities located in drought-impacted areas.

3. Secure a future source of food stocks, long-term storage capacity and production capabilities for crops that can adapt to climate change.

4. Prepare for impacts on culturally significant food and animal species.

5. Develop relationships with neighboring governments and communities regarding land use planning, and emergency plans for the more disastrous impacts of climate change.

6. Consider alliances with local governments to build renewable energy capacity.

7. Consider strategies to unite tribes around habitat protection.

8. Get actively involved as sovereign governments in U.N. climate change negotiations, and pressuring national governments to reduce emissions.

9. Get youth involved in cultural education, and defending the future of their nation from harmful climate change.

10. Work with other Indigenous nations in a treaty relationship transcending colonial boundaries.

NIARI has produced a Community Organizing Booklet for Pacific Northwest tribal members (edited by Debra McNutt) entitled Northwest Tribes: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change. The 16-page Booklet (1.5 MB) translated the technical themes of the longer Report into accessible English, to make the complex issue of climate change understandable to Northwest tribal members, so they could start discussions on their own community responses.

A Powerpoint summary (17 MB) on the Climate Change and Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations project has been presented at several regional or national tribal climate change conferences. A 2008 article on Indigenous Nations' Responses to Climate Change is also available from the American Indian Culture & Research Journal.


Project Report: Climate Change and Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations, October 2006 (2 MB)

Powerpoint presentation on Climate Change and Indigenous Nations (14 MB)

Community Organizing Booklet: Northwest Tribes: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change, 2010 (1.5 MB)

Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute (NIARI), The Evergreen State College

United League of Indigenous Nations Treaty

Indigenous Nations' Responses to Climate Change (Zoltan Grossman, American Indian Culture & Research Journal, Oct. 2008)

Indigenous Nations Include Climate Change in Historic Treaty (by Char Simons, Evergreen magazine)

United League of Indigenous Nations Formed (Indian Country Today, 8/9/07)

Lummi to Host Historic Meeting of the Nations (Indian Country Today, 7/12/07)

Proposed treaty could protect nations (Indian Country Today, 3/21/05) (U. Washington)

VIDEO on Indigenous Nations Treaty (6:30)

Indigenous Nations Treaty (Powerpoint & notes presented by Dr. Alan Parker at NCAI conference)

Global climate change--implications for indigenous practices (Lecture notes by Maori environmental scientist Dr. Brett Stephenson)

Climate change--some insights for indigenous peoples (Powerpoint by Maori environmental scientist Dr. Brett Stephenson)

Global Warming (Powerpoint by Dr. Zoltan Grossman with charts, photos, maps, etc.)



United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

UNPFII 7th Session (2008):  Climate change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new challenges

Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples book (Tebtebba Foundation)

Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment (U.N. University Traditional Knowledge Initiative)

Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on Climate Change (Anchorage, April 2009) Release and Declaration

Climate Rage: The only way to stop global warming is for rich nations to pay for the damage they've done (by Naomi Klein, 11/14/09)

The Most Inconvenient Truth of All: Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples (Survival International report 2009.).

Indigenous Leaders at the Front of the Historic Climate March in Copenhagen (Democracy Now video, 12/14/09)

Could Just One Degree Change the World? Two Three Four Five Six (National Geographic videos on You Tube)

Demystifying Climate Change Negotiations (by Raymond de Chavez)

Statement Regarding Water, Climate Change/Global Warming and...POPs (U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 2005)

Be Worried, Very Worried (Time special report, 4/3/06)

Dialogue Paper by Indigenous Peoples to World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg 2002)

Indigenous peoples voice urgency on global warming (Indian Country Today, 1/5/06)

Climate Alliance of European cities and rainforest indigenous peoples

It's Getting Hot in Here: Dispatches from the Global Youth Climate Movement

The Canary Project (photos of changing landscapes)

Globalization: Affects on Indigenous Peoples (world map pdf)



Climate Change Impacts on Tribal Resources (Tulalip)

Native Climate Commons (United Nations and Tulalip Tribes)

Ethnoclimate bibliography (Excel spreadsheet compiled by Preston Hardison, Tulalip Tribes)

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC)

NWIFC Spirit of the Salmon video and resource guide

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)

Swinomish Climate Change Initiative (Adaptation Strategy Toolbox and Draft Impact Assessment Technical Report)

Nisqually-Olympia McAllister Wellfield Partnership (moving water source from Medicine Creek to wells on higher ground)

Tribal Climate Change Forum (Sustainable Northwest, 2009)

Pacific Northwest coastal tribes facing climate change disruptions (Mother Earth Journal, 11/13/09)

Global Climate Change Impacts on the Coasts (U.S. Global Change Research Program/NOAA, 6/09)

Quinault President Fawn Sharp testimony on climate change effects, incentives and funding (Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, 10/28/09)

Energy Planning: A Guide for Northwest Indian Tribes

Pacific Northwest Research Station (U.S. Forest Service)

First Nations Summit (B.C.)

Coast Salish Gathering (B.C./Washington)

Community Alliance & Peacemaking Project (CAPP), Seattle

Climate Impacts Group (U. Washington)

State of the Salmon (maps)

Sea-level rise on Pacific Northwest coast (NWF)

Climate Change Implications for Quileute and Hoh Tribes of Washington (Chelsie R. Papiez Master's Thesis, 2009)



National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC)

NWF Tribal Lands Climate Conference (Cocopah Nation AZ, 2006)

Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) Climate Justice Campaign

Circles of Wisdom: Native Peoples - Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop (U.S. Global Change Program, 1998)

Native Peoples/Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop II (Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, MN, Nov. 18-21, 2009)

Mystic Lake Declaration (of Native Peoples/Native Homelands Workshop II, 11/21/09)

Impacts of Climate Change on Tribes in the United States (National Tribal Air Association, 12/11/09)

Native Communities and Climate Change: Protecting Tribal Resources as Part of National Climate Policy (University of Colorado Natural Resources Law Center, 2007)

American Indian & Alaska Native Climate Change Working Group

Planning for Seven Generations: Indigenous & Scientific Approaches to Climate Change (Boulder, 3/08)

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (U.S. Global Change Research Program/NOAA, 6/09)

Tribes and Climate Change (N. Arizona Univ.)

Red Alert!: Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge (by Dr. Daniel Wildcat, 2009)

Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change on America's Water, Land, and Other Natural and Cultural Resources (Interior Dept Secretarial Order No. 3289)

Power Paths (PBS Independent Lens documentary on Native energy issues, 10/09)

Native Americans Move to Forefront on Climate (John C. Topping, Jr., President, Climate Institute)

Bridging divides at climate change symposium (Indian Country Today, 3/31/08)

Lakota Chief Arvol Looking Horse on global warming (10/06)

Arctic Indigenous Peoples Unveil Statement on Climate Change (6/12/05)

Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) climate change petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (12/7/05)

(Description, Summary, Full text)

Climate Change and Inuit Human Rights (ICC resolution, 2003)

Intertribal Council on Utility Power (COUP) (fighting climate change through Native renewable energy)

Native Wind (wind energy on reservations)

Bering Sea Climate is Shifting (Los Angeles Times, 3/10/06)

Environmental Justice and Climate Change (EJCC) Initiative

Tribal Campus Climate Challenge

Native Americas Special Issue on Global Warming, Climate Change & Native Lands (Fall/Winter 1999).

Energy Justice Network



Table of Pacific Rim countries

South Pacific Forum (SPF)

Pacific Peoples' Partnership

Asia-Pacific Network on Climate Change (APNet)

South Pacific Organizations Coordinating Committee (SPOCC)

Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

Republic of the Marshall Islands climate change website

Climate Change and the Pacific Islands (Ministerial Conference on Environmental & Development in Asia & the Pacific, 2000)

Sinking Feeling (Time, 8/01)

Climate Convention (1999)

Pacific Worlds (Indigenous regional geographies)

Oceania map





Group research to study impacts of climate change on Pacific Rim Indigenous nations:

* Maori in Aotearoa/New Zealand

* Native Hawai'ians

* Native Alaskans

* First Nations in Western Canada

* Native American nations of the U.S. West Coast

Students will be working with a faculty team from the Master's of Public Administration (MPA) program, the Master's of Environmental Studies (MES) program, and Native American and World Indigenous Peoples Studies (NAWIPS) to analyze the impacts of climate change on indigenous peoples located in the Pacific Rim. This will be the first phase of a multi-year project involving environmental scientists from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Hawai'i, Alaska, Canada and the Pacific Northwest, as well as indigenous nation political leaders. Particular focus will be on development of a united representation of indigenous nation concerns independent of the national governments through negotiation of compact. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Special Committee on Indigenous Nation Relationships has begun the process of developing an Indigenous Nations Treaty, and has taken the proposal for a League of Indigenous Nations to the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Canada (see below).

Dr. Alan Parker, director of the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute (NIARI) at Evergreen has been developing the research project that would involve the environmental science director at the Maori University (Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi), faculty at the University of Hawaii, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and the University of British Columbia. We envision creating a network that can exchange information and then plan a weeklong meeting that will lead to issuing a report. Our particular focus will be upon the means of representation of indigenous nations in global environmental regulatory regimes, principally the Kyoto Accords, and what existing Native political structures may be called into play to advance such representation.

For the summer research program, students will be researching existing literature on the impact of climate change on Pacific Rim Indigenous peoples, exisiting efforts by indigenous peoples to address climate change issues at all scales, and the possible mechanisms for Indigenous nations to intervene in global forums to protect their environmental and cultural interests. Together with participating faculty, the students will compile work that can form a basis for a report for Native governments and communities (and for larger academic and general audiences), on how global warming is increasingly impacting Indigenous peoples and the future of their natural resources, how Indigenous nations are reacting to climate change, and how Indigenous nations can in turn make an impact on the global discussion and international regulatory processes around climate change.

Summer 2006 Upper division (4 credits): Native American Studies, Environmental Studies, Graduate Studies



Alan Parker (MPA)
Director, Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute,
Tel. (360) 867-5075 Sem II E2117, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW,
Olympia WA 98505


Zoltan Grossman (NAWIPS)
Tel. (360) 867-6153 Lab 1 Room 1015, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW,
Olympia WA 98505
Faculty website:


Alan Parker, representing the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), presenting the Indigenous Nations Treaty proposal to the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Vancouver, B.C. on July 13, 2006. At right are NCAI Vice-Chair Les Minthorn (Umatilla) and University of British Columbia Professor Graham Smith (Maori). Photo by Zoltán Grossman.

Program students and faculty meeting with Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources staff (Terry Williams, Daryl Williams, and Preston Hardison) on the Tulalip Reservation on July 17, 2006. From left: Dr. Alan Parker, Dr. Brett Stephenson (Maori environmental scientist from Awanuiarangi University), Renee Klosterman, Laural Ballew and Jill Bushnell. Photo by Dr. Zoltán Grossman.


The headwaters of the Nisqually River emerging from under the Nisqually Glacier on Mount Rainier, Washington.