Indigenous Peoples

​Climate change poses particular threats to Indigenous Peoples’ health, well-being, and ways of life.


The peoples, lands, and resources of indigenous communities in the United States, including Alaska and the Pacific Rim, face an array of climate change impacts and vulnerabilities. The consequences of observed and projected climate change have and will undermine indigenous ways of life that have persisted for thousands of years. Native cultures are directly tied to Native places and homelands, and many indigenous peoples regard all people, plants, and animals that share our world as relatives rather than resources. Language, ceremonies, cultures, practices, and food sources evolved in concert with the inhabitants, human and non-human, of specific homelands.

Climate change impacts on many of the 566 federally recognized tribes and other tribal and indigenous groups are projected to be especially severe, since these impacts are compounded by a number of persistent social and economic problems. Key vulnerabilities include the loss of traditional knowledge in the face of rapidly changing ecological conditions, increased food insecurity due to reduced availability of traditional foods, changing water availability, Arctic sea ice loss, permafrost thaw, and relocation from historic homelands.

Melillo, Jerry M., Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe, Eds., 2014: Highlights of Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, pp. 48–49, Print.
http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings/indigenous-peoples