Dibaginjigaadeg Anishinaabe Ezhitwaad: A Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu for Indigenous-led Climate Adaptation

Webinar Date: 
November 13, 2019

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Traditional and Indigenous knowledge and perspectives have not often been recognized in planning resources for climate adaptation in natural and cultural resource management. This webinar introduces participants to Dibaginjigaadeg Anishinaabe Ezhitwaad: A Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu, a new tool to assist in developing specific adaptation actions that recognize and incorporate tribal perspectives. The Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu was created to help integrate tribal and traditional values with climate adaptation planning processes, such as the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science Adaptation Workbook. This first version of the Tribal Adaptation Menu was intentionally created from Ojibwe and Menominee perspectives, languages, concepts, and values. Future versions will be co-developed by other Indigenous peoples, with their languages, concepts, strategies and approaches. The Tribal Adaptation Menu may be used as a tool to help bridge communication barriers for non-tribal persons or organizations interested in indigenous approaches to adaptation and the needs and values of diverse tribal communities. This webinar introduces the concept of an adaptation menu, describes the Tribal Adaptation Menu, introduces a Guiding Principles document which describes a general process for working with tribal communities, and provides a case study of a real-world project that has used the menu.



Sara Smith is the Midwest Tribal Resilience Liaison with the College of Menominee Nation as part of the Sustainable Development Institute. She is a direct descendant of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology (Ecology and Conservation) and First Nation Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay as well as a Master’s of Science degree in Ecology from the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her background is in research and development, natural resources, ecology, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), and working with indigenous communities in the Midwest.

She is stationed at the US Forest Service’s Northern Forest Research Station on the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul, Minnesota with the deputy federal director of the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC), Olivia LeDee. As the liaison for this region, she works on facilitating stronger relationships between Tribes, climate researchers, Tribal and non-Tribal organizations, and the NE CASC. In addition, she works with Tribes to build capacity and provides support by helping identify gaps and assisting with resilience efforts.


Rob Croll is a Policy Analyst in the Division of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission in Odanah, Wisconsin. His duties include coordination of GLIFWC’s Climate Change Program and providing policy analysis and operational experience to the Enforcement Division. GLIFWC’s Climate Change Program is focused on integrating indigenous traditional ecological and experiential knowledge with scientific research in natural resources climate adaptation for the benefit of its eleven Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) member tribes. Prior to GLIFWC Rob served for eighteen years as a Waterways Conservation Officer with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, specializing in natural resource criminal investigations. Rob has a Masters in Environmental Law & Policy from Vermont Law School and did his undergraduate work in Environmental Studies at Northland College.


Stephen Handler is a climate change specialist with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station and Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. His main role with NIACS is to coordinate the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework, which involves building partnerships, assessing climate change risk, and working with land managers and landowners to develop real-world projects to adapt and prepare for future change. Stephen moved to Houghton, MI, in 2011 and loves being a Yooper.

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