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Climate change and Yakama Nation tribal well-being

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The Yakima River Basin (Basin) in south-central Washington is a prime example of a place where competing water uses, coupled with over-allocation of water resources, have presented water managers with the challenge of meeting current demand, anticipating future demand, and preparing for potential impacts of climate change. We took a decision analysis approach that gathered diverse stakeholders to discuss their concerns pertaining to climate change effects on the Basin and future goals that were collectively important. One main focus was centered on how climate change may influence future salmon populations. Salmon have played a prominent role in the cultures of Basin communities, especially for tribal communities that have social, cultural, spiritual, subsistence, and economic ties to them. Stakeholders identified the need for a better understanding on how the cultural, spiritual, subsistence, and economic aspects of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation could be affected by changes in salmon populations. In an attempt to understand the complexities of these potential effects, this paper proposes a conceptual model which 1) identifies cultural values and components and the interactions between those components that could influence tribal well-being, and 2) shows how federal natural resource managers could incorporate intangible tribal cultural components into decision-making processes by understanding important components of tribal well-being. Future work includes defining the parameterization of the cultural components in order for the conceptual model to be incorporated with biophysical resource models for scenario simulations.
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Climate change and Yakama Nation tribal well-being
J. M. Montag &K. Swan &K. Jenni &T. Nieman &
J. Hatten &M. Mesa &D. Graves &F. Voss &M. Mastin &
J. Hardiman &A. Maule
Received: 10 July 2012 /Accepted: 6 November 2013 /Published online: 7 February 2014
#Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2014
Abstract The Yakima River Basin (Basin) in south-central Washington is a prime example of
a place where competing water uses, coupled with over-allocation of water resources, have
presented water managers with the challenge of meeting current demand, anticipating future
demand, and preparing for potential impacts of climate change. We took a decision analysis
approach that gathered diverse stakeholders to discuss their concerns pertaining to climate
change effects on the Basin and future goals that were collectively important. One main focus
Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398
DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-1001-3
This article is part of a Special Topic on Stakeholder Input to Climate Change Research in the Yakima River
Basin, WAedited by Alec Maule and Stephen Waste.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10584-013-1001-3)
contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
J. M. Montag :K. Swan
U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, 2150 Centre Avenue, Building C, Fort Collins,
CO 80526, USA
K. Jenni
Insight Decisions, LLC, 2902 Irving Street, Denver, CO 80211, USA
T. Nieman
Decision Applications, Inc., 1390 Grove Court, Saint Helena, CA 94574, USA
J. Hatten :M. Mesa :J. Hardiman :A. Maule
U.S. Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, Columbia River Research Laboratory,
5501A Cook-Underwood Road, Cook, WA 98605, USA
D. Graves
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, 729 NE Oregon Street, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97232, USA
F. Voss :M. Mastin
U.S. Geological Survey, Washington Water Science Center, 934 Broadway, Suite 300, Tacoma, WA 98402,
USA
Present Add ress:
J. M. Montag (*)
Bureau of Land Management, Blue Sky Zone 5353 Yellowstone Rd, Cheyenne, WY 82009, USA
e-mail: jmontag@blm.gov
was centered on how climate change may influence future salmon populations. Salmon have
played a prominent role in the cultures of Basin communities, especially for tribal communities
that have social, cultural, spiritual, subsistence, and economic ties to them. Stakeholders
identified the need for a better understanding on how the cultural, spiritual, subsistence, and
economic aspects of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation could be
affected by changes in salmon populations. In an attempt to understand the complexities of
these potential effects, this paper proposes a conceptual model which 1) identifies cultural
values and components and the interactions between those components that could influence
tribal well-being, and 2) shows how federal natural resource managers could incorporate
intangible tribal cultural components into decision-making processes by understanding
important components of tribal well-being. Future work includes defining the parameterization
of the cultural components in order for the conceptual model to be incorporated with biophysical
resource models for scenario simulations.
1 Introduction
This paper proposes a conceptual model that could be used by federal natural resource
managers to facilitate the incorporation of tribal social and cultural values into decision-
making processes. The catalyst for developing this model was a decision analysis workshop
which brought together diverse stakeholders to discuss their concerns and provide future goals
that were collectively important in regards to climate change effects on water resources in the
Yakima River Basin (Basin) (Jenni et al. 2013). The concern about climate change impacts on
salmon in the Basin stems, in part, from the significant cultural, social, economic, and
traditional values people in the Basin hold towards salmon and the salmon fisheries of the
Pacific Northwest (NRC 1996; Ruckelshaus et al. 2002).
The discussion of this model is set in the context of climate change affecting water and
salmon resources in the Basin and the resulting potential effects on the culture of the
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation (YN). The Basin is located in south-
central Washington State, USA, on the east side of the Cascade Mountains and encompasses
approximately 16,000 km
2
(almost 1.6 million ha), and includes parts of four Washington
counties (Benton, Kittitas, Klickitat, and Yakima). The YN, a federally recognized Indian
nation comprised of 14 tribes and bands, has inhabited lands in the Lower Columbia River
Basin since time immemorial. Of the original 4.65 million ha of lands occupied by the YN, 0.5
million ha were set aside by the Treaty of 1855 as the Yakama Reservation (CRITFC 1995).
The remaining land (approximately 90 %) was ceded to the U.S. government although the
treaty reserved many rights and privileges and guaranteed the use of resources within
the ceded area, including rights to hunt, fish, and gather berries, roots, and plants at usual and
accustomed places.
Given the strong connections between the YN and the natural resources both within and
outside of their reservation and treaty rights, the concern over potential climate change impacts
on those resources is understandable. For the YN, they were endowed with a feeling that kept
us close to all that was created, including the salmon and waters(Ted Strong as quoted in
Cone 1995, p. 142). The resources, therefore, provide nourishment, livelihood, and a
fundamental basis for their identity and culture, often shared through traditional knowledge
transmission, ceremonies and celebrations, and traditional ways of gathering food and resources
(Lal et al. 2011; Tsosie 2007). Changes in resource quantity, quality, and location caused by
climate change could then impact these integral connections the YN has with the surrounding
natural resources and thus their overall tribal well-being.
386 Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398
2 Tribal well-being
Well-being is subjective and dependent upon the situation, culture, and the biogeophysical
surroundings (Alcamo and Bennett 2003; Helliwell and Putnum 2004). Well-being is often
researched in terms of an individuals well-being (Diener 2009); however here we are
broadening the theory of well-being to the YN. For us, tribal well-being encompasses the
functions, processes and elements that can sustain traditional tribal identity and resilience.
Traditional tribal identity and resilience refers to the continuation of the functions, processes
and elements that are perceived by YN tribal members to be indigenous and representing
Yak[a]ma Indianness(Schuster 1975). Our tribal well-being conceptual model uses the
concept of socialecological systems, in which a myriad of interactions may occur both within
and amongst the two systems. We have developed this model through discussions with key
YN members associated with natural resource management as a way to understand what
resources are managed and for what reasons-including cultural reasons. The model provides a
starting point for understanding what elements may contribute to YN tribal well-being and
how these elements may be affected by the dynamics between climate change, the salmon
fisheries, and various YN tribal cultural components.
Our conceptual model attempts to extend understanding beyond common demographic and
economic variables (often those easily quantifiable), by emphasizing the various interactions
and linkages that can exist within and between system elements. In other words, our model not
only highlights cultural elements to consider, but also the interactions that occur between these
cultural elements and other demographic and economic variables. For our purposes, we are
defining cultural elements as the dynamic tangible and intangible processes, interactions, and
aspects of a communal society that shares common values, beliefs, and spiritual constructs and
practices towards their relationship with the land; traditional cultural activities and way of life;
interpersonal and intergenerational relationships; communication including language, arts,
crafts, and ceremonies; governance; law; and, other social aspects such as material, intellectual,
and emotional features(Soto-Estrada et al. 2005, p. 412) (definition also based upon Crane
2010;Fischer2006;Geertz2000;Henson2008;King2000;MVEIRB2007; Parker and King
1998;Taylor2006; UNESCO 2003).
We are fully aware this conceptual model is not the only way to conceive of these types of
resource management concerns (Howitt 2001). That said, our model provides another way to
identify tangible and intangible cultural values that may be affected by federal natural resource
management decisions. We present our conceptual model in three figuresFig. 1provides a
general overview of the system of elements that contribute to YN tribal well-being; Fig. 2
provides a more detailed view of the relationships between and amongst salmon as one of the
first foods and the other YN tribal well-being elements; and Fig. 3provides a more detailed
view of tribal community well-being with the discussion focusing on the sub-elements most
associated with natural resources.
2.1 Key elements to YN tribal well-being
The overall conceptual model of YN tribal well-being is presented in Fig. 1(methods are
presented in SM 1). This figure highlights what we hypothesize to be six key elements
contributing to YN tribal well-being. While each of these directly contributes to tribal well-
being, there are additional interactions occurring between these elements which also contribute
to tribal well-being. The interactions occurring between the six YN tribal well-being elements
are identified by the lighter lines. Below we outline the six elements in the YN tribal well-
being system.
Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398 387
First foods are the sacred foods (fish, wildlife, roots, berries and water) that are integral to
traditional tribal culture. Since a focus of this paper is to look at the effects of future
climate change on the salmon and how this may then affect tribal well-being, these
Fig. 1 Yakama Nation tribal well-being broad-scale conceptual model. Encircled are the six elements that
contribute to the well-being with the external inputs from treaties, court decisions and future climate scenarios
Fig. 2 Sub-model for first foods with focus on salmon
388 Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398
interactions will be discussed in more detail with Fig. 2. Due to the focus on salmon we
present the other four equally important first foods, but will not discuss them in detail.
Family/individual well-being focuses on family unitsand individualswell-being.
Individual and family well-being research often focuses on variables such as income,
poverty, health, community ties, relationships (such as marriage), spirituality, happiness,
and life satisfaction (Helliwell and Putnum 2004). Although not discussed in detail, our
model incorporates the following components under this element: basic needs being met,
proximity to family, relationships between family members, non-family bonding relationships
(such as significant others, close friendships, etc.), shared values and beliefs, employment and
income, individual health, and participation in traditional activities.
Tribal community well-being refers to a sub-unit such as historically separate tribes
within a Tribal Nation (e.g., the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs), a city or the
reservation as a whole. Many of the elements considered for community-level well-being
are similar to those identified for individual/family well-being. Additional elements can
also include community governance, parks and green space, recreational opportunities,
roads and infrastructure (Miles et al. 2008;OECD2011).
Ceremonies/celebrations/arts are the celebrations and ceremonies that have and/or still
do occur as part of tribal culture, and the arts that are utilized by tribal members to tell
their stories. Due to the sacredness of many of these ceremonies/ celebrations and arts,
including sacred lands, archeological sites, etc., we do not discuss this element in detail.
Traditional knowledge transmission refers to traditional knowledge and the desire for it
to be continued and transmitted from generation to generation. This includes the cultural
practices and cultural history knowledge as well as traditional ecological knowledge
(TEK) learned and shared through tribal membersclose connections to and understanding
Fig. 3 Sub-model for tribal community well-being
Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398 389
of the functions and processes of the physical landscape. The acceptance and incorporation
of, or the lack thereof, TEK by federal resource managers can be a source of contention or
collaboration in federal government to tribal government relationships and is a topic in
current literature (see Donoghue et al. 2010; Kimmerer 2002;Pierotti2010;Turneretal.
2000). However, it should be mentioned that there are some tribes that are less willing to
share traditional knowledge, including traditional ecological knowledge with non-tribal
members. The YN tends towards limiting the sharing of traditional knowledge because
much of this knowledge is considered sacred.
Native language refers to the knowledge and continuation of Sahaptin, which is the
Yakama tribal native language. In part due to past historical actions by governments and
current acculturation to westernized society, there have been significant declines in
numbers of native languages and the number of native language speakers (Henson
2008). US Census data from 2000 (comparable Census 2010 data are unavailable)
indicate that only 2 % of the population on the YN Reservation, 5 years and older speak
the native language at home (cited in Henson 2008).
The importance of the interactions between these six elements should not be
underestimated. While each element contributes to YN tribal well-being, so do the myriad
of interactions that connect the elements and foster tribal well-being. One such example is first
foods and its connection with the various elements and tribal well-being. The gathering of first
foods is taught through traditional knowledge and native language and is celebrated with first
food ceremonies and celebrations. Participation in first foods gathering and celebration helps
to create stronger family and individual well-being while the sharing of food promotes tribal
community well-being; these occur through a community of individuals participating in shared
values and beliefs. This entire process as a whole contributes to YN tribal well-being.
While all six elements contribute to YN tribal well-being, the focus of this paper is to
discuss how outside influences such as treaty rights/court decisions and future climate may
affect first foods, in particular salmon, and how these impacts may affect YN tribal well-being.
The following section delves into more detail about the importance of salmon as a first food,
how it interacts with the other five elements (Fig. 1) and how it contributes to overall YN tribal
well-being.
3 Importance of salmon and salmon fisheries
For thousands of years the tribes and bands of the YN lived off the land collecting and
gathering natural resources for subsistence. Salmon were and continue to be an extremely
valuable resource. In the past, salmon may have accounted for up to 40 % of the tribes
membersdaily caloric intake (Hunn 1990). At the turn of the 19th century tribes in the
Columbia River Basin controlled a rich salmon harvest that they skillfully combined with
abundant root crops to support a large population, substantial winter villages and summer
gatherings numbering in the thousands (Hunn 1990).
As salmon give up their life to sustain Yakama people a bond is formed and there is a great
deal of respect held for the fish. The salmon were created for a purpose. They were created
here to enjoy their life and their existence. They were created here to serve mankind. Today,
with the development of the Columbia River, the salmon do not enjoy their life(Ted Strong as
cited in Cone 1995,p.142).
To honor the salmon as the first of many foods gathered throughout the year, a ceremony is
held in traditional longhouses or other places of worship to thank and welcome the salmon.
390 Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398
Food sources, such as salmon, are always shared within the YN which allows members to
create strong support linkages and reciprocal obligations (Gunnier 2008).
Salmon provides much more to YN tribal well-being other than food and commercial
opportunities: there are definite direct links to intangible cultural elements. Figure 2outlines,
as simply as possible, the interactions from future climate and treaty rights/court decisions and
first foods, thus, presenting to federal natural resource decision-makers a possible way of
thinking about connections between the biogeophysical aspects of salmon fisheries and the
cultural value of salmon to the YN.
The dark lines in Fig. 2focus on the linkages between the biogeophysical aspects to salmon
as a first food. The lighter lines denote interactions that link sub-elements of this figure to the
other five elements of YN tribal well-being. The lighter lines are important for identifying the
linkages between the various YN tribal well-being elements and sub-elements in more detail
than was indicated in Fig. 1.TodiscussFig.2, we start with the outside influences of future
climate and treaty rights/court decisions.
Although there are several factors that contribute to future climate scenarios (e.g. temperature,
precipitation, etc.) for simplicity we are not explicitly including those in the conceptual model.
The main physical landscape elements that we highlight are total water supply, biogeophysical
landscape, and land and natural resource base. As with future climate predictions, total water
supply and the biogeophysical landscape encompass numerous components that we are not
going to explicitly include (e.g. elevation, topography, soils, water use/water demands, etc.). The
distinction between the biogeophysical landscape element and the land and natural resource base
element is fuzzy for sure, although we view biogeophysical landscape as actual properties and
processes of the landscape on a broad scale, such as regional air and water quality, habitat
suitability, droughts, and floods. Land and natural resource base refers to a more confined area of
tribal ownership or natural resource areas of use/value of which the quality is heavily dependent
on the biogeophysical elements. The land and natural resource base can also be influenced by
adjacent or existing land uses or changes in land uses which we do not explicitly show for the
sake of simplicity.
For use in this model treaty rights/court decisions refer to those actions that have influenced
the land and natural resource base element through determining reservation size and location,
as well as rights to off-reservation areas for specific uses and allocation rights such as 50 % of
the harvestable fish run.
Total water supply, biogeophysical landscape, and the land and natural resource base all
influence systems of total fish population and fish health. Others (Hatten et al. 2013; Hardiman
and Mesa 2013) provide discussions on the more detailed aspects of fish habitat and fish health
so we are using the element of total fish population and fish health systems to represent those
aspects. Tribal share of harvestable fish is influenced by total fish population and fish health
systems and treaty rights/court decisions such as the Boldt decision (384 F. Supp 312 (1974))
which states that the Columbia River tribes have the right to 50 % of the harvestable fish runs.
Tribal subsistence fishing is what is first taken from the harvestable run with commercial
fishing occurring after subsistence needs are met. Meeting subsistence needs, and then
commercial fishing, is also influenced by fishing success which, in turn, is influenced by
where fishing may occur and whether those areas include high populations of the harvestable
run. Numerous traditional fishing sites were lost through dam building which also affected fish
populations in remaining fishing sites (Wilkinson 2005). This is shown in Fig. 2by the link
from land and natural resource base to fishing success. Tribal commercial fishing provides
value to tribal community well-being through the community economy; while it is the
maintaining of a traditional livelihood and the participation in traditional activities that links
to the cultural importance of salmon to YN tribal well-being.
Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398 391
There is also cultural value to subsistence fishing in part through participation in traditional
activities, such as the celebration of the first catch of the season. Subsistence fishing also
provides traditional nutrition to tribal members, thus linking subsistence fishing to tribal
community and family/individual health. Participation in traditional activities also provides
feedback interactions with family/individual and tribal community well-being in terms of
shared values and beliefs, the ability to share in ceremonies/celebrations/ art, and act as a
way to maintain traditional knowledge transmission. Additionally, participation in traditional
activities may also provide more exposure to and ability to maintain the native YN language.
All of the interactions discussed highlight how salmon contribute to YN tribal well-being
through being a first food as well as how salmon play a role in contributing to the other five
elements of YN tribal well-being.
4 Tribal community well-being
There are different ways that tribal community well-being can be organized and we present it
through three key sub-elements: tribal community economy, tribal community services, and
tribal community health. While health is a community service, we broke it out given the
numerous interactions it has with the biogeophysical aspects. In Fig. 3, these key sub-elements
are denoted by dashed line boxes. Community well-being can include other sub-elements,
such as tribal population; however, we show these three sub-elements since they bridge the gap
between the physical landscape and cultural elements of YN tribal well-being. Each of these
sub-elements is comprised of additional components, some of which are explicitly shown in
Fig. 3. There are of course, connections between community well-being and family/individual
well-being and we provide a few examples of such.
The dark lines in Fig. 3focus on the linkages between the sub-elements and components to
tribal community well-being. The lighter lines denote interactions that link sub-elements and
components of this figure to the other five elements of YN tribal well-being. While there are
numerous interactions that occur, to discuss Fig. 3, we start and focus this sections discussion
on components that are most associated with natural resources.
Tribal community economy refers to the communitys economy. For this specific tribe,
casino profits and natural resource profits have been key contributors to their economic well-
being. In terms of natural resources, this refers not only to profits from commercial fishing but
also from sales of other natural resources such as timber. Natural resource sales are influenced
by the tribal profits from fish, the land and natural resource base which provides the basis for
the resources sold, and resource management which could manage for the most profitable
resources. Tribal community economy can also play a large role in the quantity and quality of
tribal community services.
Tribal community services encompass components such as the infrastructure, governance,
and community management that provides necessary support for a functioning community.
Some key elements that we show are tribal governance, infrastructure, cultural preservation,
education, resource management, and cohesion as well as the linkages between tribal economy
and community health. There are, of course, other elements that could fall under community
services; we are highlighting the ones that we believe best show linkages from the physical
landscape to cultural elements that might not readily be identified by federal natural resource
decision-makers. For example, infrastructure signifies the plethora of physical infrastructure
needs of a community such as water lines, utilities, roads, housing, and public safety needs
such as police, fire fighting and emergency medical services. The biogeophysical landscape
can have an influence on community infrastructure through events such as floods or
392 Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398
earthquakes. Land and natural resource base also interacts with community infrastructure by
providing the physical base on which infrastructure can be placed. Infrastructure is a necessary
aspect of community services that can influence tribal community well-being. Tribal economy
is also an important input to tribal community services given that it provides funding for the
various community services, such as community health programs, infrastructure needs, and
cultural preservation activities. Due to the complexity of Fig. 3as is, we represent these
interactions through the direct link from tribal community economy and tribal community
services.
Cultural preservation is explicitly shown because this is a major contributor to the preservation
of the cultural and traditional knowledge, values, practices, and physical items for tribal identity
and resilience. Cultural preservation and education interact back and forth given that the
preservation of culture can be enhanced through the education of traditional values and practices.
For example, teaching young tribal members traditional fishing techniques brings together
education and cultural preservation. A feedback loop exists between cultural preservation and
resource management. Thus, resource management may be used to promote increases in cultur-
ally important items such as berries and roots. Additionally, the tribal community economy
provides funding cultural preservation activities as well as other community services. The
elements ceremonies/celebrations/art, traditional knowledge transmission and native language
also have feedback linkages with cultural preservation. First foods are a contributor to cultural
preservation as well.
Resource management represents the role that the YN has in managing the natural resources
on the reservation and their actions in off-reservation resource management. Feedback loops
exist between resource management and natural resource sales, and resource management and
land and natural resource base. A change in resource management could affect natural resource
sales or improve the quality of the land and natural resource base. Likewise, changes such as a
decrease in natural resource sales or decreased quality of the land and natural resource base could
influence resource management actions. Resource management also links to first food and
traditional knowledge transmission. The YN actively participates in managing resources for
the continuation of first foods availability and resource management provides a mechanism to
share TEK (traditional knowledge transmission) with other tribal members.
Cohesion embodies the communitys interrelations such as the communitys ability to have
shared values, participate in shared traditional activities, cultural preservation, mutual
trust, and the ability to work together in times of stress. The feedback linkages
between ceremonies/celebrations/art, traditional knowledge transmission, and native language
with cohesion helps to provide the linkage to the natural resources given the close relationships
of these activities to the variety of natural resources. For example, cohesion provides a bond that
can be strengthened by ceremonies/celebrations/art which brings tribal members together, and
the first foods celebration is such an event. Cohesion can also assist the community to pull
together in times of need by working with various community services. Shared values and
participating in traditional activities as components of family/individual well-being also provide
linkages to community cohesion.
The mental and physical health of YN tribal members is represented with the sub-element
tribal community health. Health care services and health status of YN tribal community
members contributes to the overall community well-being. In general, several health issues
are predominately higher in the Native American population than the national US average and
this is especially true for chronic diseases such as diabetes and liver disease/cirrhosis (Henson
2008). One factor on the nutrition of tribal community health is the quantity and quality of
available first foods. In terms of salmon, there are concerns about the reduced amount of
salmon in YN membersdiets and the levels of mercury and other contaminants in the salmon
Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398 393
that is consumed. Reduced consumption of salmon and other first foods increases consumption
of non-traditional and often more westernized foods that may not be as nutritional or meet the
health needs of tribal members. Additionally, the biogeophysical landscape can influence tribal
community health through such factors as air and water quality or extreme events. We have
explicitly included toxics/hazards due to the fact that YN might be impacted by the Hanford
Nuclear Reservation. While we will not discuss this in detail, it is important to highlight it as a
potential health risk factor. As one would imagine, tribal community health has feedback
interactions with family and individual well-being (http://intercontinentalcry.org/nuclear-
attack-on-the-yakama-culture/)and(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTLCSFN2fH4&list=
PLF5AD1A28BAC9C1EC&index=4&feature=plpp_video).
The conceptual model of YN tribal well-being generates thinking about how
biogeophysical changes affect social dimensions of communities beyond economics,
aesthetics, and community organization. Developing conceptual models such as these
provide the framework for conducting simulations to see how changes in different
elements and sub-elements may affect YN tribal well-being.
5 Applicability to federal natural resource decision-making
For effective federal natural resource decision-making processes in which a tribe is a
stakeholder, developing an understanding of the fundamentally different world views towards
the environment, traditional practices and interactions with the physical landscape and the
cultural importance of the natural resources is paramount. Additionally, there are numerous
federal regulations that highlight the impacts to tribes of federal decision-making
processes (see King 1998,2000). Research from around the world, including the US,
indicates that effects to indigenous populations often are not fully considered in decision-making
especially in regards to addressing their values and beliefs (Geisler et al. 1982; Jobes 1986;
Lockie 2001;OFaircheallaigh 1999;Ross1989). Guidance for inclusion of tribal cultural
values into federal natural resource decision-making emphasizes early collaborative participa-
tion by the tribes so they can provide input on the scope of the assessment and for the federal
natural resource agency to gain an understanding of tribal community context and cultural
values (Gondolf and Wells 1986;MVEIRB2007;OFaircheallaigh 2009;YESAB2006).
Our conceptual model provides a starting point for decision-makers to think about what
elements of YN tribal well-being may be affected by an action and help them to generate
questions that could be discussed with tribal members. The conceptual model provides an
opportunity for federal natural resource agencies to address cultural tribal concerns and issues
that extend beyond treaty rights. Such questions to be asked can include
&What are the opportunities for traditional knowledge sharing?
&Might the action impact sacred areas and how will that affect the tribe?
&If the action affects traditional food sources, how that may affect the traditional diet of the
tribes? How about the effects on ceremonies and celebrations?
&What are the concerns and perceptions by tribal members towards past and current natural
resource management actions? Are the concerns related to cultural elements and if so how?
&How might the action disrupt tribal family life and shared activities?
&Might the action violate cultural taboos?
Discussions with tribal members would allow them to describe in more detail how
management actions may affect them and elements of their well-being. However, this type
394 Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398
of qualitative data can pose challenges for understanding tradeoffs between cultural effects and
other socialecological system effects. Often natural resource decision-making utilizes
biogeophysical quantitative models to identify possible impacts from management
actionssuch as river hydrology models and fish population models being run to simulate
outcomes from different management actions. Research done by MacKendrick (2009)
exemplifies the value of having discussions with tribes as a way to understand the
effects of climate change, natural resource management and tribal cultural values. We
believe that our conceptual model can build upon this and past work (Gunnier 2008;
Schuster 1975) by focusing on using qualitative data as the empirical data for use in
integrated socialecological model simulations.
Our conceptual model of tribal well-being is a step towards being able to conduct such
integrated model simulations. The biogeophysical aspects can have a direct bearing on tribal
well-being elements and potential effects on the biogeophysical aspects can in turn affect tribal
well-being. The discussions surrounding Figs. 2and 3highlight the connections between
biogeophysical aspects and theintangible cultural components of the YN. Although discussions
with tribal members will result in qualitative information, this provides a valuable in-depth
understanding of potential impacts. In order to integrate this information with biogeophysical
models, the qualitative information will be used to develop appropriate numerical
equations and parameters that control the interactions between the tribal well-being
elements and sub-elements. Although the qualitative information will be represented
by numbers in order to run the simulation, discussion of the results can be in the qualitative
terms, thus allowing an integrated socialecological model to run without losing the qualitative
value of social elements (Scerri and James 2010). Additionally, the ability to see change in
patterns through time is especially valuable when looking at social systems, given that societies
and culture are livingentities that are not only rooted in a past, but also change given
contemporary times (Henson 2008).
There is much work to be done in order to move our conceptual model into an empirical
data based simulation model for use by decision-makers. While empirical data are lacking at
this point, we are putting forth this conceptual model as a way to 1) start a dialogue on
developing a framework to facilitate the integration of tribal cultural components into decision
making processes; and, 2) promote the use of model simulations as a tool that offers the ability
to understand the interactions between the socialecological systems for a point in time as well
as to see what potential changes may occur with future impacts.
6Conclusion
Declines in the salmon populations in the Basin, and the Pacific Northwest as a whole, have
caused great concern. Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest have an especially long
historical connection with salmon. Salmon are an integral component of the YN culture and
identity (CRITFC 1995). In light of climate change, water and salmon resources will likely
require federal, state and tribal management actions. Given the potential for management
actions occurring in response to potential climate change effects, we provide a conceptual
model as a tool that may allow for better inclusion of potential effects on YN tribal well-being
into the decision-making process. A prime example of how this tool could be used is the
process underway currently of re-negotiating the Columbia River Treaty (CRT) between the
USA and Canada, which established an agreement on how flows in the Columbia River would
be managed. The CRT was instituted in the 1960s and no consideration was given for tribal
culture or fish and wildlife needs. This was especially egregious as the USA ignored numerous
Climatic Change (2014) 124:385398 395
treaties with tribes that guaranteed the rights of tribes to hunt and fish. After nearly 60 years,
the treaty is now being revisited (http://www.crt2014-2024review.gov/Default.aspx). Tribes,
including the YN, are being included in the pre-negotiation planning in the USA; thus, they are
able to bring their cultural values to bear on resource issues. The conceptual model presented
here identifies six elements of YN tribal well-being (Fig. 1) that should be considered during
CRT negotiations and other federal and state policy efforts. As a way to show linkages
between the biogeophysical aspects of these policy issues and YN tribal well-being, we have
provided a discussion of the interactions between future climate, biogeophysical aspects, and
effects on salmon, one of the first foods for the YN.
The conceptual model provides a starting point for highlighting the need, value, and
benefits of ensuring that tribal cultural values are given weight in the federal resource
decision-making process, however more work needs to be done so that it can be integrated
into quantitative biogeophysical models. We propose that future work involves 1) obtaining
qualitative data from tribal members on potential effects of future climate on intangible cultural
aspects of tribal well-being, and 2) using this information to develop numerical parameters and
equations that can be used to represent the intangible cultural aspects for use in integrated
biogeophysical models. The value of this approach is the ability for maintaining the qualitative
understanding provided by tribal members while also being able to analyze cause and effects
between and within tribal well-being and biogeophysical aspects. Beyond that, we need our
model to evolve as the YNs culture evolves.
Acknowledgments We thank the workshop participants, Lynne Koontz, and Jennifer Thorvaldson for their
input and support. Also see Supplemental Materials 1for those who provided input and guidance in developing
the conceptual model. Funding was provided by U.S. Geological Survey, Science Applications and Decision
Support Program. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply
endorsement of the U.S. Government.
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