top of page

Alliance Partner Nikki Cooley Highlighted on NPR’s “Bearing Witness: Voices of Climate Change”

“The long-term effects of these [climate] changes are most, I think, concerning in terms of how tribal members are going to be able to conduct their ceremonies and their prayers and their offerings during the four different seasons.” Alliance partner Nikki Cooley shares her thoughts on how Tribal Ceremonies might need to be adapted in the face of a changing climate in a recent NPR series.

‘My friend from Tohono O’odham said, “Tribes have always adapted. We’ve always learned and known that we’ve had to adapt to the different changes. Now we just have to act quicker”’ Cooley recounts in Bearing Witness: Voices Of Climate Change, a new series highlighted by NPR.

Nikki Cooley, Co-Manager of Climate Change Programs at the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) and integral partner of the Climate Science Alliance, was interviewed by NPR’s Ryan Heinsius on her thoughts regarding adapting tribal ceremonies in a changing climate.

Cooley says, “Tribal members have said to me that some plants that they gather that they use for their ceremonies are not growing at the time they should be harvested so that throws off their ceremonial calendar. So if they can’t harvest fish because they’re not spawning and they’re not regenerating they can’t hold their annual celebration in honor of the fish. So that throws off that calendar and that just doesn’t feel right to them and that’s very concerning. That has these ripple effects of the mental and spiritual impacts, not just the physical impacts that they’re seeing.”

Read the full article Bearing Witness: Voices Of Climate Change Part VII: Adapting Tribal Ceremonies To A Changing Climate by Ryan Heinsius here.

Nikki Cooley is a member of the Navajo Nation and is co-manager of the Tribes and Climate Change Program at Northern Arizona University. She advises Indigenous communities across the country on how to adapt to a changing climate. The Climate Science Alliance is honored to work with Nikki Cooley, the ITEP team, and the amazing network of Tribal partners within our research, educational, and community projects. Learn more about how we collaborate to build Tribal resilience in the face of climate change here.

bottom of page