The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals and the Seminole Tribe of Florida and their climate resiliency staff invited the Climate Science Alliance to collaborate on their course, Southeast Indigenous Climate Adaptation Planning, held in March.
The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) and the Seminole Tribe of Florida and their climate resiliency staff invited the Climate Science Alliance (Alliance) to help instruct their course, Southeast Indigenous Climate Adaptation Planning, on March 9-11, 2023 in Ocala, Florida.
This 3-day training brought together a variety of Tribal and non-tribal partners working in the environmental, cultural, and climate professions, as well as elders and youth leaders from the various Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes, to have an important dialogue that focused on the urgency of climate change and Tribal sovereignty. The group also consisted of Seminole artists who contributed much needed insight to the discussion. Some critical tools that were presented included the Seminole Cultural Resource Climate Vulnerability Assessment conducted by the THPO office. This was important for Tribes to quantify impacts to both biological and cultural resources and sites on the various reservations. This tool also helps to project the long term impacts to the region due to climate change. The Environmental and Heritage staff presented on the Tribe's efforts to preserve and protect specific plant and animal resources. Highlighting salt water contaminations to the Floridan aquifers due to rising sea levels were of paramount concern to the research and monitoring efforts. The Alliance’s Tribal Capacities and Partnerships Program Manager, Will Madrigal Jr., was very impressed with the amount of Tribal member staff leading the work and collecting data in the field.
On the final day, the USET (United South Eastern Tribes) and Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center, presented their efforts to create adaptation programming for/with Tribal nations around the country. This work included assessing the impact to sea level cultural and biological resource sites with special attention adaptation and site restoration led by tribes.
As shared by Will Madrigal Jr.:
“I had the privilege to present on the great work that CSA is doing with our TWG partner nations here in our homelands. I started by conducting a traditional grounding and smudging prayer exercise with the attendees outdoors. I began to convey important elements of the 2022 SW Climate Summit, where actions like this were used throughout the 3-day event. I emphasized the importance of cultural/spiritual grounding. I was then able to share the details about our cultural fire cadre and training we have conducted. I was happy to learn that the Seminole relatives have been burning their plant and forest relatives continuously. Direct benefits were to Cypress forest and animal habitat health. The Miccosukee Nation are kin to the Seminoles and shared that they have a program that teaches climate impacts and traditional land stewardship to adults and families in a great 6-week program they conduct in the forest lands.
All in all, our Seminole and Miccosukee relatives are alot like us. They instill knowledge and pride into the next generation as best they can. They are grateful to all who can offer allyship and support to help them tell their climate hope narrative to the benefit of all.”
View more trainings from our incredible partners at the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals here.