Planning in Tribal Communities: An Evaluation of Climate Adaptation Planning Processes
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Climate change in Indigenous communities threatens Native peoples’ existence (Norton-Smith, et al., 2016). Through content analysis of six climate adaptation plans in tribal communities—four in Northwest Alaska and two in the Lower 48, interviews with planning participants, and a literature review—I sought to find out if those plans support core Indigenous cultural values. The literature shows exclusion of Indigenous values and worldviews in planning perpetuates colonial oppression (Willox, 2013), (Whyte K. P., 2016). I hypothesized plans created by tribes should better incorporate tribal worldviews and values, be better implemented, and lead to better outcomes, including improving the tribes’ capacity, or ability and power (Merriam-Webster, 2017) to respond to climate change. My work confirms the literature, and by comparing tribal with non-tribal plans, it reveals, tribal plans do lead to better outcomes but, even with tribal participation, oppressive and racist planning practices still exist and interferes with Indigenous peoples’ ability to respond to climate change impacts. The purpose of this project is to encourage Indigenous and non-Indigenous planners to include Indigenous peoples, their worldviews and values throughout the planning processes.