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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

Makah Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Resource Assessment: A preliminary framework to utilize traditional knowledge in climate change planning


Since time immemorial, Qwidičča?a•tx, or the Makah Tribe, have lived on the northwest Olympic Peninsula in what is currently Washington state. Climate change has already impacted the Makah Tribe and will continue to do so in the future. Our history, archaeological archives, stories, and knowledge have proven that the Makah Tribe has an extensive history of adapting to changing climates. Traditional, cultural, and Indigenous knowledges can play an important role in climate adaptation planning, and for tribes and Indigenous peoples it can be a crucial component in ensuring that planning strategies and outcomes are culturally appropriate and aligned with community values. The Makah Climate Change Workgroup, an internal workgroup of the Makah Tribe, has begun a Makah Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Resource Assessment to complement and inform our Makah Climate Impacts Assessment and Makah Climate Adaptation Plan. In this presentation, we outline our preliminary framework demonstrating how tribes and Indigenous groups can utilize traditional and Indigenous knowledges within their own planning processes in the following ways: to (1) provide historical baselines and fill in gaps in monitoring data; (2) identify cultural resources that are vulnerable to future climate change; (3) identify potential climate adaptation and mitigation strategies; and (4) engage the community on climate change impacts.

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