finding 12.5 : forced-native-relocation-negatives

Climate change related impacts are forcing relocation of tribal and indigenous communities, especially in coastal locations. These relocations, and the lack of governance mechanisms or funding to support them, are causing loss of community and culture, health impacts, and economic decline, further exacerbating tribal impoverishment.

This finding is from chapter 12 of Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment.

Process for developing key messages: A central component of the assessment process was participation by members of the Chapter Author Team in a number of climate change meetings attended by indigenous peoples and other interested parties, focusing on issues relevant to tribal and indigenous peoples. These meetings included: Oklahoma Inter-Tribal Meeting on Climate Variability and Change held on December 12, 2011, at the National Weather Center, Norman, OK, attended by 73 people.7fbb768c-d8cf-48a5-88b4-dddb6d254013 Indigenous Knowledge and Education (IKE) Hui Climate Change and Indigenous Cultures forum held in January 2012 in Hawai‘i and attended by 36 people.a55e1352-b4c6-42f8-bafa-a920c9e1107b Alaska Forum on the Environment held from February 6-10, 2012, at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska, and attended by about 1400 people with approximately 30 to 60 people per session.0808ea70-a152-4f50-abda-90370beb3632 Stories of Change: Coastal Louisiana Tribal Communities’ Experiences of a Transforming Environment, a workshop held from January 22-27, 2012, in Pointe-au-Chein, Louisiana, and attended by 47 people.bbc3c75e-6c21-4e60-8285-514cde885865 American Indian Alaska Native Climate Change Working Group 2012 Spring Meeting held from April 23–24, 2012, at the Desert Diamond Hotel-Casino in Tucson, Arizona, and attended by 80 people.2d423414-dc26-4edc-85e0-6f99bdc6283c

Description of evidence base: The key message and supporting chapter text summarizes extensive evidence documented in more than 200 technical input reports on a wide range of topics that were received and reviewed as part of the Federal Register Notice solicitation for public input. There is well-documented evidence that tribal communities are vulnerable to coastal erosion that could force them to relocate.0a6d16f1-2362-46a1-8bfa-622dc2a43268 42269c56-1785-48ec-a81b-6eeb784de417 c816e0ee-d2f7-42af-8ce7-c3e96d395263 a55e1352-b4c6-42f8-bafa-a920c9e1107b 70dfc033-956a-400a-bc71-86379a7b7350 1807de04-16a3-422a-a5bc-d241def97f88 For example, tribal communities in Alaska, such as Newtok, Kivalina, and Shishmaref, are experiencing accelerated rates of erosion caused by the combination of decreased Arctic sea ice, thawing permafrost, and extreme weather events, resulting in loss of basic necessities and infrastructure (see also Ch. 22: Alaska).0a6d16f1-2362-46a1-8bfa-622dc2a43268 42269c56-1785-48ec-a81b-6eeb784de417 70dfc033-956a-400a-bc71-86379a7b7350 e0a81c23-060a-4dd0-ab7c-875203be1bda Tribal communities in coastal Louisiana are experiencing climate-induced rising sea levels, along with saltwater intrusion and intense erosion and land loss due to oil and gas extraction and river management, forcing them to either relocate or try to find ways to save their land (see also Ch. 25: Coasts and Ch. 17 Southeast).42269c56-1785-48ec-a81b-6eeb784de417 bbc3c75e-6c21-4e60-8285-514cde885865 Tribal communities in Florida are facing potential displacement due to the risk of rising sea levels and saltwater intrusion inundating their reservation lands.960747ce-f39c-49ff-a05b-ad02a48ab892 e5a7d4cf-2dec-41dd-b09c-c5056b3c554b The Quileute tribe in northern Washington is relocating some of their village homes and buildings to Olympic National Park in response to increased winter storms and flooding connected with increased precipitation; the Hoh tribe is also considering similar options.822df4d2-3a7d-450b-9924-5543158d5d08 65e47def-6a90-42b2-9cb2-214fe04505ff Native Pacific Island communities are being forced to consider relocation plans due to increasing sea level rise and storm surges (see also Ch. 23: Hawai‘i and Pacific Islands).a55e1352-b4c6-42f8-bafa-a920c9e1107b

New information and remaining uncertainties: A key uncertainty is the extent to which the combination of other impacts (for example, erosion caused by dredging for oil pipelines or second-order effects from adaptation-related development projects) will coincide with sea level rise and other climate-related issues to increase the rate at which communities will need to relocate.0a6d16f1-2362-46a1-8bfa-622dc2a43268 42269c56-1785-48ec-a81b-6eeb784de417 a55e1352-b4c6-42f8-bafa-a920c9e1107b Another key uncertainty is how communities will be able to effectively relocate, maintain their communities and culture, and reduce the impoverishment risks that often go along with relocation.0a6d16f1-2362-46a1-8bfa-622dc2a43268 42269c56-1785-48ec-a81b-6eeb784de417 a55e1352-b4c6-42f8-bafa-a920c9e1107b The United States lacks an institutional framework to relocate entire communities, and national, state, local, and tribal government agencies lack the legal authority and the technical, organizational, and financial capacity to implement relocation processes for communities forcibly displaced by climate change.42269c56-1785-48ec-a81b-6eeb784de417 a70c5744-3f77-4829-bf40-803b0ea0a14a

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: Based on the evidence, there is very high confidence that tribal communities in Alaska, coastal Louisiana, Pacific Islands, and other coastal locations are being forced to relocate due to sea level rise, coastal erosion, melting permafrost, and/or extreme weather events. There is very high confidence that these relocations and the lack of governance mechanisms or funding to support them are causing loss of community and culture, health impacts, and economic decline, further exacerbating tribal impoverishment.

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