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Sustainability Events

Cultures Under Water:
Climate Impacts on Tribal Cultural Heritage Conference

This conference is free for ASU faculty, staff and students.

Extreme weather and climate events have increased over the past 50 years and Indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable to the adverse effects because they are often inextricably tied to their land. As a result, climate change not only threatens the landscape, but also cultural identity. Indigenous peoples have used traditional knowledge to mitigate climate disruptions and to adapt to the changing environment. However, policy discussions have failed to adequately address climate impacts on cultural heritage, and the rapid rate of climate disruptions continues to threaten indigenous cultures and communities with alarming speed. This conference will build on the discussions of climate change, adaptation, and traditional knowledge by focusing specifically on climate impacts on tribal cultural heritage.

We will bring together tribal leadership and members, scientists, scholars, attorneys and activists to discuss climate change threats and challenges faced by indigenous communities. The goal is to share knowledge and resources with tribal representatives to respond to threats to cultural heritage by addressing: Is cultural heritage a human right, and why is tribal cultural heritage important? How does climate change impact tribal cultural heritage? How can tribal communities maintain cultural heritage in the face of changing climate risks? Attendees will participate in sessions that focus on identifying obstacles and proposing solutions to these challenges.

On the evening of Wednesday, December 6, the Memorial Union will feature Before The Flood by Fisher Stevens.

Conference Hosts: Union of Concerned Scientists, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Questions? Contact Jennifer Williams at or 480-727-0420

Wednesday-Friday, December 6-8, 2017