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Reflections on the 2022 Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit

Nizhoni Tallas, Climate Resilience Intern at the Climate Science Alliance, reflects on her time at the 2022 Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit.

Guest Post by Nizhoni Tallas

The Summit took place at the Pala Rey Youth camp event grounds which is home to the Cupeño and Luiseño peoples. The open celebration introduced the summit theme of “The Fire Within Us” that was helpful to focus the summit's intentions and to open the space to what attendees can bring to the conversations around the relationship we have to fire. There were roughly 200 participants that spent 3 days attending the summit.

The summit provided opportunities to learn and listen about intergenerational knowledge transfer and to listen to tribal members and elders about this topic. The other topics ranged from fire knowledge and How to get Good Fire on the Land. Along with these sessions there was designated space and time to allow participants to share their experiences, knowledge and thoughts in a storytelling circle. The Climate Science Alliance and other partners made sure that there were plenty of opportunities to build relationships with one another and engage in conversation about resilience.

By hosting the summit entirely outdoors, this allowed the participants to engage with the environment around them. Throughout the three days it was not uncommon to hear birds chirping, the swooshing of trees and to feel the sunshine and the breath of air on one's body. The ability to be immersed in the outdoors brought life to the conversations about fire and the healing properties to have hard conversations about climate change. This summit from start to finish was highly community oriented and ensured that the participants were being heard. The hope that was felt at the summit left the participants with the encouragement to continue their work with fire and to inspire others that they too can implement change and become leaders in their communities.


Thank you, Nizhoni!


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