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Addressing the challenges of climate-driven community-led resettlement and site expansion: knowledge sharing, storytelling, healing, and collaborative coalition building.


Presently coastal areas globally are becoming unviable, with people no longer able to maintain livelihoods and settlements due to, for example, increasing floods, storm surges, coastal erosion, and sea level rise, yet there exist significant policy obstacles and practical and regulatory challenges to community-led and community-wide responses. For many receiving support only at the individual level for relocation or other adaptive responses, individual and community harm is perpetuated through the loss of culture and identity incurred through forced assimilation policies. Often, challenges dealt to frontline communities are founded on centuries of injustices. Can these challenges of both norms and policies be addressed? Can we develop socially, culturally, environmentally, and economically just sustainable adaptation processes that supports community responses, maintenance and evolution of traditions, and rejuvenates regenerative life-supporting ecosystems? This article brings together Indigenous community leaders, knowledge-holders, and allied collaborators from Louisiana, Hawai'i, Alaska, Borikén/Puerto Rico, and the Marshall Islands, to share their stories and lived experiences of the relocation and other adaptive challenges in their homelands and territories, the obstacles posed by the state or regional governments in community adaptation efforts, ideas for transforming the research paradigm from expecting communities to answer scientific questions to having scientists address community priorities, and the healing processes that communities are employing. The contributors are connected through the Rising Voices Center for Indigenous and Earth Sciences, which brings together Indigenous, tribal, and community leaders, atmospheric, social, biological, and ecological scientists, students, educators, and other experts, and facilitates intercultural, relational-based approaches for understanding and adapting to extreme weather and climate events, climate variability, and climate change.

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