Rising Voices: 2021 Seed Funding for Centering Justice in Climate Research and Action
Congratulations to the following four teams that received seed funding to catalyze their projects and advance the ethos of the Rising Voices Center for Indigenous and Earth Sciences. All entries for this funding opportunity represented important and cutting edge work that advances Indigenous science and action in the Earth sciences.
PROJECT: Solar Bear: Development of a K-12 Sustainable Energy Education Model in Support of Tribal Energy Sovereignty
Abstract: It is a critical time in the climate crisis for First Nations to lead the way towards a just energy and climate future, though building solar projects and workforces centered on renewable energy and native knowledge. This project will build support for the development of an Environmental Justice and Sustainable Energy Education Model, integrating STEM learning with traditional ways of knowing throughout the K-12 program, with a focus on sustainable, renewable energy, through the Solar Bear Program, a Native Sun education initiative. This educational model seeks to prepare young people with knowledge of language and culture relating to TEK, as well as the skills to understand and apply Earth Science concepts, and to empower them with the capacity and tools to work on critical energy infrastructure issues related to climate change, environmental justice, and tribal energy sovereignty. Through storytelling, classroom and outdoor activities, connections with tribal and western scientists, and learning from tribal educators, the program will support young tribal members in building knowledge and community resilience at the intersection of a health, climate, justice and renewable energy. The program will create pathways to the solar industry, and to research/education  careers that support community-based action on tribal energy sovereignty. 
Team: Robert Blake (Native Sun Community Power Development), the Science Museum of Minnesota, Red Lake Public Schools, Waasabiik Ojibemotaadiwin Immersion Charter School, Climate Generation, Red Lake Department of Natural Resources
PROJECT: qóˀc waqíitpa (in the future)
Abstract: Our Nimiipuu knowledge is founded in values of respect, reciprocity, responsibility, and relationships which are reflected in waste reduction and sustainable actions.  qóˀc waqíitpa (in the future) is a Nimiipuun'eewit initiative for waste reduction at community gatherings (i.e. longhouse, funeral services, memorials, giveaways, ceremonies, celebrations). Gatherings are at the foundation of our culture, community, and homelands. It is vital in sustaining our teachings, developing our own lived experiences, and perpetuating our ancestral connection to place. The  qóˀc waqíitpa initiative includes a waste audit, reduction design, and implementation for community gatherings of varying number of people. Our Nimiipuu practices have been adaptive, yet as knowledge of sustainable practices are established we can and will take action to adapt practices that are aligned with our cultural values and traditional practices.  By using modern best practices suggested by science organizations and experts, our community can elevate our role in upholding our responsibility to our homelands and as a vital component of our ecosystem.
Team: Ciarra Greene, (Nimiipu/Nez Perce); Maggie Picard (Saddle Lake Cree); Northwest Indian College scholar (TBD)
PROJECT: Applying Coproduced Flood Risk Science for Adaptation Action in Maloelap Atoll
Abstract: This project will support the establishment of the 0.5 km squared conservation area and an piloting of the indigenous and western science-based flood risk reduction measure along the most vulnerable coastlines of Kaben Island in Maloelap Atoll. The pilot beach-toe and vegetated fencing will extend an area of no less than 50 meters of strong wave-energy coastline on the eastern end of Kaben Island (sometimes spelled Kaven). It will be constructed of stainless steel rope pinned to 2' wide x 2' long x 4" height concrete slabs fabricated by the community. The concrete slabs (i.e. beach toes) will be 4' to 6' underground to decrease lateral mobility. Stainless steel rope will be connected to the beach toes and extend vertically above ground by approximately 4 feet above ground. The various stainless steel ropes will be lashed with nylon netting and strung together, forming a porous barrier between the open ocean and the vulnerable coastline. Community members will gather and deposit fallen coconut palm leaves and other vegetation on the interior of the netted fencing, and over time the natural wave action and tidal flows will carry sediment that will "cement" the vegetation in place. The pilot design is intended as a cost-effective means to climate action among a resource-poor rural atoll community. Lessons learned to guide further coastal conservation and protection plans as part of the Maloelap Resource Management Plan which was developed using the 8-step Reimaanlok Conservation Area Management Planning Framework [please insert hyperlink to] that helps atoll communities in the Marshall Islands think globally and act locally. The Resource Management Plan and is now seeking co-funding support. 
Team: Community leaders - Paramount Chief Boklon Zachious, Ailuk/Aur/Maloelap/Utrik/Wotje Atolls; Chieftess Kiorina Capelle, Maloelap Atoll; Mayor William Saito, Maloelap Atoll Local Government; Councilman Mark Stege, Maloelap Atoll Local Government (project manager); Technical advisors - Bobby Muller, Pacific International Inc. (sea fence design advisor); Dolores deBrum-Kattil, Marshall Islands Conservation Society (conservation site advisor); Amber Moulton and Salote Soqo, Unitarian Universalist Services Committee
PROJECT: Building a New Generation of Water Protectors in Barbuda, West Indies
Abstract: Barbuda is a small, semi-arid island in the Caribbean that is inhabited by descendants of formerly enslaved people who have become intrinsic to the island ecosystem. Barbudans have had communal “ownership” of the land and have had sustainable and resilient ways of life. In 2017, the island was struck by Hurricane Irma; this was followed by privatization of land and a transformation of the landscape into a Disney-like tourist attraction for the rich. Hunting grounds and agricultural areas have been destroyed, which will impact their food and water systems. In this project we will reach out to community members to collect stories about the historic wells and other relevant knowledge related to water and compile these in a story map that includes Earth science data that the project team has been collecting since 2012. We will talk to many Barbudans, particularly the elders, to document the knowledge in order to capture traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) before it is lost, provide a more complete picture of the island water system, and extend and strengthen community-project team relationships. This would provide baseline data to document the impacts of landscape transformation that is happening, as well as finding ways to increase community resilience.
Team: Rebecca Boger, Barbuda Research Complex and Brooklyn College, City University of New York (CUNY); Sophia Perdikaris,  Barbuda Research Complex and University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Shaville Charles, Barbuda; Dwight Finch, Barbuda Research Complex

Working Groups

Convene each year at the Rising Voices annual workshops to discuss emerging issues & priorities around particular climate-connected topics:

Rising Voices COVID-19 Working Group - The Working Group on Indigenous and Earth Sciences Knowledges and Practices in response to COVID-19 foregrounded Indigenous perspectives in defining research questions for potential intercultural collaboration between Indigenous and Earth sciences to drive urgent, culturally relevant and appropriate responses to COVID-19.  Working Group Report to the Natural Hazards Center CONVERGE program.

Conferences / Event Presentations

  • Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRiMO), March 2014
  • Northwest Tribal Water Conference, Oct 2014
  • Shifting Seasons, Oct 2014
  • Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society Annual Conference (AMOS), February 2015
  • American Meteorological Society, January 2015
  • Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRiMO), March 2015
  • Pacific Northwest Climate Change Tribal Network, Aug 2015
  • Southwest Climate Change Tribal Network, June 2015
  • American Anthropological Association, roundtable, November 2015
  • Society for Applied Anthropology, March 2016
  • American Meteorological Society, January 2016
  • Southwest Climate Change Tribal Network, Feb 2017
  • Society for Applied Anthropology, March 2017
  • American Anthropological Association, November 2017
  • American Geophysical Union Session, Poster, Thriving Earth Exchange workshop, December 2017
  • Conference on World Affairs, April 2018
  • Society for Applied Anthropology, March 2018
  • American Association for Geographers, April 2018 (or 2019?)
  • Mni Ki Wakan Summit, August 2019
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), October 2019
  • American Anthropological Association, Executive panel session, November 2019
  • Natural Hazards Workshop, Invited plenary session, July 2020  
    NOAA Environmental Data Talks - Speaker Series Data, Diversity, and Disaster October 16, 2020

Annual  Bob Gough “Climate Change is Inevitable, Adaptation is Optional” Public Symposium

The first Bob Gough Symposium was held the evening of May 15, 2019 at the Mesa Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Bob Gough, an attorney with graduate degrees in sociology and cultural anthropology, worked with American Indian Tribes on cultural and natural resource issues for over 40 years, served as the first director of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility Commission (1993-1996), and as Secretary of the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy since 1994. He maintained a private law practice on Indigenous rights and conducted outreach activities to Native Alaskan and American Indian communities on behalf of the federal Wind Powering America program.

Bob co-chaired the US Global Change Research Program’s (USGCRP) “Native Peoples/Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop” (NPNH) in 1998, and served on the NPNH2 steering committee (2009); was a lead author on the 2014 Third U.S. National Climate Assessment’s Indigenous Peoples, Lands and Resources Chapter; and cofounded the Rising Voices movement in 2013.

For more information see the links below:

2019 Bob Gough Public Symposium  
2020 Bob Gough Public Symposium
Bob Gough Tribute Video