Issues

Feds Spend $1.2 Million for ‘Climate Change Liaisons’ for Native American Tribes

‘Addressing climate needs relating to understudied resources of high cultural value to tribes’

People perform during an event with the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
People perform during an event with the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation / AP

The Department of Interior is spending $1.2 million on "climate change liaisons" for Native American tribes.

The agency issued a grant opportunity this month announcing its intentions to hire five to seven people to address "tribal climate change science needs" through a Bureau of Indian Affairs program.

The liaisons will provide "functional expertise in areas that are or may be affected by climate change."

"There is a recognized need for climate information to improve decision-making for climate preparedness and resilience in Indian Country," according to the grant announcement. "Currently, tribes do not have a strong connection to the research of the climate science community in spite of their relative vulnerability to climate change impacts."

The "tribal climate science liaisons" will be responsible for forming a network and a workgroup within the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ "Climate Resilience Program" that will address issues such as environmental management, infrastructure, energy, health, and emergency management.

"In addition to the coordination and development of climate research and standard climate adaptation practices, tribal climate science liaisons’ efforts will include identifying and addressing climate needs relating to understudied resources of high cultural value to tribes and traditional knowledge," the grant announcement said.

The program will cost an estimated $1.2 million for one year and could be extended with two option years.