Natural Resources in the Context of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians

 Posted on behalf of Kayla Stevenson

Hello again from Seattle! My work with the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians (CTCLUSI) is steadily making progress. In early April, I drove down to Coos Bay to host a writing workshop with the Department of Culture and Natural Resources staff for my work on the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. I had prepared topics for us to discuss but left it open to address any issues or complexities that arose relevant to the framing of the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. The workshop allowed for in-person discussions and problem-solving and revealed new issues to consider, which I discuss below. 

Something that came up during the workshop was how the area of interest for the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians spans across multiple geographies and encompasses diverse ecosystems, each with its own set of vulnerabilities. In the development of the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, it became clear that I needed to consider the interconnectedness of environmental issues across ecosystems.

Salmon in the Pacific Northwest is an example of the complexity of natural resources that span multiple geographies. As an anadromous species, salmon traverse various ecosystems during their life cycle and therefore need to be included at multiple points in the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. This led to another question during the workshop: what is the best way to categorize and organize a vulnerability assessment? We looked at different examples from other northwest Tribes and realized that, for the unique context of CTCLUSI, the assessment needed to serve multiple purposes, including a vulnerability assessment of not only natural resources but also how CTCLUSI properties will be exposed to climate change impacts. That said, it became clear that the assessment needed to consider damage protection and resource conservation. How do we safeguard Tribal properties and economic assets while mitigating future vulnerabilities? This necessitated a nuanced approach, considering both immediate concerns and long-term sustainability goals. Related to long-term sustainability goals came the question of how to approach climate modeling in the report. During the workshop, we talked about intergenerational responsibility, specifically from the perspective of planning for the next seven generations. 

One of the main takeaways from the workshop was recognizing the importance of a holistic approach to climate change vulnerability and adaptation. This work requires comprehensive strategies that integrate traditional knowledge with scientific research, braiding knowledge to navigate environmental challenges. The workshop served as a crucial step in understanding the complexities of Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment in the context of CTCLUSI and a way to reflect on methodologies for designing climate change adaptation documents.