Tribal Leaders Hear International Climate Change News At Spokane Conference

Jul 31, 2019

Indian tribes, such as Washington's Swinomish Nation, are creating their own climate adaptation plans, but in Spokane on Wednesday, they also learned about Native input to national and international climate discussions.
Credit Swinomish Tribe/

Representatives from Northwest tribes continued their discussions today [Wednesday] about how they’re adapting to climate change.

Some of the time has been spent sharing their own stories, but this afternoon [Wednesday], delegates were briefed on international climate discussions.

Frank Ettawageshik from Michigan represented the National Congress of American Indians at the U.N. International Indigenous Peoples Forum of Climate Change.

“Tribes have a domestic policy that is within the boundary of their reservations and traditional territories. But they also have a foreign policy. And that foreign policy is dealing with other tribes, dealing with state governments, federal governments or other nations or indigenous peoples all over the Earth," Ettawageshik said. "That foreign policy is something, it’s an arena that not a lot of attention is paid to and they say if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. We need to make sure that we have representatives on the table.”

The climate change summit sponsored by the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians will conclude Wednesday in Spokane.