U.S. policies towards Native Americans have gone through several stages of development ranging from aggression to the execution of treaties, then assimilation then to soveriegnty and finally back to assimilation again. No state represents the back and forth in of the numerous laws adopted over the past 300 years to address the “Indian Question” than Alaska.
This section of the website recognizes that small communities and rural areas face unique climate adaptation challenges. These communities often have limited administrative capacity, less diversified economies, more dependence on natural resources, and greater physical isolation from critical infrastructure and services. The small communities sector contains examples of plans, strategies, laws, and case studies showcasing adaptation efforts in small and rural communities. It also features tools and guidance to help small communities understand their risks and prepare for impacts.
Reindeer husbandry has been practiced on the Seward Peninsula for over a century. The reindeer are maintained as a local food source and a source of economic development. The Kawerak Reindeer Herders Association works with herders to improve herd management and develop a viable reindeer industry. The University of Alaska Fairbanks teaches herders how to work within the commercial system of inspection, packaging, shipping, and marketing. Future industry development may involve obtaining funding for a slaughter facility to create jobs and sell meat to customers such as the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC), other communities in the region, and artisanal markets in Anchorage or other places.
Fall storms now regularly batter Alaska’s Arctic coastal villages — but don’t always qualify for disaster funds
A fall storm that sent waves crashing ashore in the northernmost U.S. community and caused at least $10 million in damage to roads, buildings and other facilities is part of a troublesome pattern in a new type of fall season along the coasts of northern and western Alaska. But current federal rules often mean such damage can't be covered by disaster funds.
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community started planning for climate change a decade ago. Located on the southeastern peninsula of Fidalgo Island on Puget Sound in Washington, the reservation is surrounded by water and at high risk for sea-level rise. A destructive 100-year storm event in 2006 led tribal leaders to research and fund climate programs, and the Swinomish became the first tribal nation to adopt a climate adaptation plan. So, when President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the United Nations’ Paris climate agreement, the Swinomish reacted swiftly and, together with other tribes, publicly committed to uphold the accord.
Although Alaska Native communities have had downscaled SNAP climate projections available for their locations, now all Tribes in the Lower 48 contiguous states can also quickly access county-level climate projections from the Data & Maps Section of any Tribal Fact Sheet in the Tribal Climate Resilience Resource Guide. (Quick Filter by typing in a few distinct letters from the official name of any Tribe to quickly jump to the correct fact sheet link from the full Tribal List of 567 federally recognized Tribes).