Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation Climate Change Strategic Plan

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) Climate Change Strategic Plan is an initial effort to identify climate adaptation strategies by drawing on the expertise of the Tribes’ administration, elders, scientific leaders, and other stakeholders. The confederated tribes currently reside in the Flathead Reservation in Montana, although their territories were originally located in what is now western Montana, northern Idaho, and parts of southern Canada. The plan is particularly concerned with the preservation of the tribe’s natural and cultural resources. As tribal council chairman Joe Durglo asserts, “Our land and resources are the basis of our spiritual life...Our survival is woven together with the land.”

The report describes the history of the tribes within the confederation and lays out the case for why the tribes must address the issue of climate change on a local and regional level. The report's second section contains scientific observations about local climate changes, shares Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and provides pertinent messages from six interviews with tribal elders.

The plan focuses on nine focal sectors impacted by climate change: 

  • Forestry
  • Land
  • Fish
  • Wildlife
  • Water
  • Air
  • Infrastructure
  • People (social services, safety, health and human resources)
  • Cultural

A vulnerability and risk assessment was conducted for each of the 9 topics and are summarized in the report. The cultural risk assessment finds that climate change has a high probability of altering the availability of local natural resources essential to the spiritual identities of the tribes within the confederation.

The CSKT Climate Change Strategic Plan contains preparedness Goals and Actions for addressing climate change impacts, and assigns actions to various departments with the tribal government. These goals and related actions include timeframes, responsible authority, and funding mechanisms for each. Considerations and lessons from Traditional Ecological Knowledge are also provided.

The plan concludes by outlining how the tribes will approach the adaptation process, including updating the plan regularly and establishing a Climate Change Oversight Committee.

 

Publication Date: April 2016

Related Organizations:

  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of the Flathead Reservation

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  • Adaptation plan
  • Assessment

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