The University of Arizona

Southwest Tribal Data Summit: Partnering with Southwest Indigenous Communities to Identify Data Challenges, Needs, and Opportunities | CLIMAS

Southwest Tribal Data Summit: Partnering with Southwest Indigenous Communities to Identify Data Challenges, Needs, and Opportunities

Southwest Tribal Data Summit: Partnering with Southwest Indigenous Communities to Identify Data Challenges, Needs, and Opportunities

CLIMAS Lead:  

As Indigenous communities in the U.S. and around the world confront ongoing climate hazards (e.g., drought) and plan for future problems related to climate change such as threats to human health, a variety of challenges have arisen related to the data necessary to support decisionmaking. Climate monitoring on Native American lands can range from sparse to nearly nonexistent, particularly in some of the remote regions of the Southwest. Inconsistent, irrelevant, and poor-quality community health data also limits effective decisionmaking for Native nations, including decisions related to community climate resilience. That dearth of data can be a significant barrier for political leaders and resource management practitioners who need to track developing trends as well as current conditions to inform decisions about access to and use of natural resources such as grasslands for livestock or adaptation planning to sustain and improve community health. As Native nations seek to utilize the best available data and information to build climate resilience and healthy, sustainable communities, issues around data relevance, ownership, access, possession, and control arise.

The University of Arizona’s CLIMAS program and the Native Nations Institute, in conjunction with the U.S. Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network, hosted “Supporting Tribal Data Governance for Community Resilience: A Southwest Indigenous Climate Summit” in September 2018. Participants included tribal leaders and community members, academics, private foundations, and federal government officials. This event fostered discussion about unique issues surrounding Indigenous data sovereignty, tribal data governance, and Indigenous knowledge related to climate resilience efforts within Southwest Indigenous communities.