How Indigenous Communities are Adapting to Climate Change: Insights from The Climate-Ready Tribes Initiative

Climate change directly threatens human health, with substantial impacts on Indigenous peoples, who are uniquely vulnerable as climate-related events affect their practices, lifeways, self-determination, and physical and cultural health. At the same time, Indigenous communities are leading the way in innovative health-related climate change adaptation work, using traditional knowledges and novel approaches. 

In 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Indian Health Board created the 'Climate-Ready Tribes Initiative,' to support these efforts. The initiative has funded tribes, shared information nationally, and supported a learning cohort, resulting in pioneering work to protect health from climate hazards. 

In this paper, Paul J. Schramm and colleagues describe how two tribes—the Pala Band of Mission Indians and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community—implemented their Climate-Ready Tribes Initiative projects. Besides this, this study provides recommendations for making climate and health policy more effective for tribes. Lessons learned from the Climate-Ready Tribes Initiative can inform climate and health policy and practice nationwide.

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