Adaptive capacity creation in the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre (Stó:lō Nation, BC) and the Fort Apache Heritage Foundation (White Mountain Apache Tribe, AZ)

Date created: 
John Welch
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Indigenous adaptation to climate change
Community adaptive capacity
Indigenous organizations
Indigenous perspectives of climate change
Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre
Fort Apache Heritage Foundation

Indigenous peoples are disproportionately threatened by a changing climate. Research indicates that U.S. Tribes and Canadian Aboriginal Peoples are experiencing detrimental climate change effects. In this context, Indigenous organizations deserve special consideration as community-based pathfinders for collective welfare. I engaged with two Indigenous organizations that share cultural heritage stewardship missions—the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre (Stó:lō Nation, BC) and the Fort Apache Heritage Foundation (White Mountain Apache Tribe, AZ)—to investigate perceptions of climate effects and develop recommendations for organizational support of community adaptive capacity. Research methods included engagement with organizational collaborators, semi-structured interviews with organizational representatives and community members, and organizational documents review. Results indicate that community members are experiencing increase in extreme weather events, changes in water quantity and quality, reductions in long-term water and food security, and reduced access to traditional resources and traditional practices. Results identify diverse opportunities to enable adaptation, most of which are case study-specific. Educational services and information dissemination, cultural perpetuation services, and cooperation facilitation comprise organizational services associated with adaptive capacity enhancement in both case studies. I conclude that Indigenous organizations hold significant potential to support communities in adapting to a changing climate. I identify recommendations to boost and actualize this potential.

Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)
Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
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