Posts Tagged ‘Salish Sea’

Current fisheries management measures don’t account for expected shifts in populations

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

After discussing the world model of what could happen to fish populations if carbon dioxide levels double by 2050, David Close said part of the problem is that current conservation and fisheries management measures do not account for climate-driven species distribution shifts and biodiversity changes.

“This model is designed by the availability of data which is on a world scale,” said Close. “We need better data that’s more regional and we don’t have data for fisheries that are culturally important like lamprey or eulachon (candlefish).”

By understanding changes in the ocean, we can design management policies that can cope with such changes to minimize the potentital ecological and soci0economic impacts of climate change.

Invasion and local extinction of marine species may disrupt marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Fisheries will be impacted by shifts in distributions of their targeted species.

We need to model for more refined data to improve on this model that is more world in scope than regional. “What about the sacred traditional foods? These are tied to our belief systems,” said Close.

He advocated for a number of policy and scientific actions:

  • Implement comprehensive and integrated ecosystem approaches to managing coasts and oceans, fisheries, adequate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation
  • Reducing fishing capacity and rebuilding over-exploited ecosystesm; this could be achieved partly by eliminating subsidies that promote overfishing and excessive capacity
  • More environmentally-friendly and fuel efficient fishing and aquaculture practices (not net pens)  and integrate climate-proof aquaculture with other sectors
  • Provide climate change education in schools and create greater awareness among all stakeholders. Integrate appropriate traditional knowledge with Western science
  • Strengthen our knowledge of aquatic ecosystem dynamics and bio-chemical cycles, particularly at local and regional levels
  • Conduct local climate change vulnerability and risk assessments (of how they adapt) What’s important to us rather than only economically important to mainstream society.

Food takes care of the people and the people take care of the food

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Edie Hottowe, Makah tribal member, talks about the importance of huckleberries, one of the Makah tribe's culturally important foods. The tribe has an ethnobotanical garden behind the Makah Cultural and Research Center in Neah Bay.

Teara Farrow Ferman, Cultural Resources Protection Program Manger for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, presented on climate change and the risks to first foods and tribal culture.

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla are comprised of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla tribes of Oregon and Washington and their reservation covers 172,000 acres in southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon.

Eric Quaempts, natural resources director, created the Umatilla’s approach to first foods after many interviews with tribal members. Their management program assigns natural resource management branches to the appropriate food. Quaempts noted the order of food to the table and its importance.

Water is the first food to the table and the most important. Natural resource management branches of water resources and fisheries are responsible for the water. The cultural resources program is responsible for all the first foods such as salmon, deer, roots and berries along with the other natural resource departments that manage specific foods.

The reciprocity of first foods is that they are managed to return to the people.  It is a food-associated culture. It means tribal members have:

  • access to them, as provided by their treaty rights.
  • the teaching of first foods and learning about them
  • harvest and how and when to do that
  • the preparation, that is passed on
  • consumption
  • celebration
  • sharing
  • care  – “We manage our foods to have the foods into the future and preserve the culture derived from them such as our celebrations and individual ceremonies,” said Ferman.

Historically, the men harvested and presented the water, the salmon and the deer. The women collected and presented the roots and berries. Today, because climate change is already affecting the availability of foods, Umatilla tribal members teach their sons and daughters to collect both foods. “We don’t know what will be available or who they will marry,” said Ferman. “We want them to identify these foods and know how to prepare them. It’s central to who we are.”

Ferman emphasized the importance of collecting oral history and archeological digs to have the information recorded and archived. “What this information has shown us is that we have adapted to changes in gear and species available,” said Ferman. “First foods values have been durable even if species have changed.”

If physical and ecological processes change, however, our foods will change.

Umatilla tribes are already seeing roots and berries become less available. There has been some trading with family members of other tribes for these foods. The Lummi Indian Nation (page 10) traded mussel shells for deer from the Umatilla as an example of coping with shrinking availability of first foods.

Graphic facilitation uses both sides of the brain

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Timothy Corey doing the graphic facilitation

Running like a river through the Coast Salish Climate Change Summit is Timothy Corey’s graphical facilitation banner that is part fine art, part flow chart. Corey has done the 40-foot panel daily representations of a variety of summits for three years. Using pastel chalks and permanent markers, Corey creates a mural of ideas and art representing presentations and dialogue. “It’s a way for everyone in the room to be heard,” said Corey. “It’s both digital and analog. For the person who would give you directions with miles and compass points, it’s got more concrete items; for the person who would give you landmarks to go by, there are more graphic representations.” It’s also a way to harvest ideas from the day’s events. You can see other photos of Corey’s work here.

Climate change will profoundly affect tribes inland as well as on the coast

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Paul Lumley, executive director, Columbia River Inter Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) talked about how climate change research is showing their member tribes will be profoundly affected by these changes.

CRITFC member tribes are Nez Perce, Yakima, Warm Springs and Umatilla tribes all who live within the Columbia River basin.

Salmon populations declined from a high of more than 17 million in the 1850s to less than a million today as dams went in. “Many tribes lost access to any fish during those years and it was devastating to cultures.” CRITFC was established to protect the remaining resource beginning in the 1970s.

Lumley said each tribe needs to know their river basins and sub-basins intimately as each will be affected differently by climate change.

The average night and daytime temperature is now significantly higher. For CRITFC tribes, this means less snow and more precipitation falls as rain.

Lumley said water is now in the system earlier and leaves quickly. The new elevation where snow pack is retained is now above 4,000 feet.

Based on an evaluation of each tribe’s elevation, the Yakama Nation will be most affected as they have little elevation in their lands. There will be more drought and warmer temperatures will harm fish.

Example of how climate change affecting First Nations in Canada

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Cowichan Chief Lydia Hwitsum noted that First Nations in Canada are in the middle of negotiations with the Canadian government to create their treaties forever and noted how difficult it is to use language that encompasses how species will change in the future.

“How do we capture the language that assures our rights to securing our food resources into the future for our people, because there may be resources that will be not available to us in the future because of climate change, but others will be available that we haven’t specifically noted. We need to take advantage of research available to help us with these negotiations,” said Hwitsum.

Impacts of climate change and how native people are responding

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Dr. Zoltan Grossman is a geographer and member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., who teaches geography and Native American and world indigenous peoples studies. He talked about the impacts of climate change on indigenous cultures and how to engage with non-native cultures who are experiencing climate change too.

As the urban world is beginning to experience drought, winds brought on by shifting wind patterns and storms cutting off cities – non-native cultures are more open to discussing these issues with the holders of traditional knowledge.

Grossman said when they are in discussions about the future, they note that we as a society don’t have time for the western science model of researching something for five years and coming to a conclusion. “What traditional knowledge does is give you early warning of what is going on. Real time knowledge only comes from traditional people who are out there every day,” said Zoltan.

The economic incentive model is at odds with how we must move forward on climate change

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Professor Rebecca Tsosie, a lawyer who has served as executive director of the top ranked Indian legal program in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University since 1996 is the keynote speaker for the Salish Gathering Climate Change Summit.

Of Yaqui descent, Tsosie has written and published widely on doctrinal and theoretical issues related to tribal sovereignty, environmental policy and cultural rights.

The current model of extracting resources from tribal lands is all about the profit and shortsighted, Tsosie said. Planning for the future and what is best for the land and the climate is a long-term process that requires careful planning and valuing the resources for more than the profit they bring.

“We are being stuck with the consequences of the economic model  of thinking,” said Tsosie. The legislators, businesses and government are all engaged in this model. Today is about being engaged in the cooperative model, transcending the physical and government boundaries that is the cultural way of the past and needs to be the way of the future, she said.

The sovereignty of tribes and how they are affected by these changes extends beyond the boundaries of their lands.