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Apr 8, 2019

In episode 87 of America Adapts, host Doug Parsons interviews Dr. Kyle Powys Whyte. Kyle is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability and a faculty affiliate of the American Indian & Indigenous Studies and Environmental Science & Policy programs at Michigan State University. Kyle is also an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Kyle and I discuss how indigenous people define urgency in the face of climate change, managed retreat for tribal communities, the national climate assessment and tribal issues, the sometimes controversial relationship between tribes and climate scientists, climate change’s role in ongoing colonization of indigenous people, effective tribal engagement and much more in a fascinating and sometimes raw conversation.

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Other Topics covered:

  • Fundamentals of indigenous people and climate adaptation.
  • Tribal people have historically ‘adapted’ to environmental change many times.
  • What does managed retreat mean for tribal people?
  • Is history repeating itself with displacing native people in response to climate change?
  • Can existing tribal treaty rights be used as a legal tool to combat climate change?
  • How did the recent national climate assessment do on tribal issues (hint: pretty well);
  • Does tribal integrity help with adapting to climate change more effectively?
  • For tribes, resilience is cultural and spiritual, and something always done by tribes.
  • Indigenous people can define climate urgency and intrinsic value differently than western cultures.
  • The challenges of tribal engagement, from both tribal perspective and western cultures.
  • Does tribal ‘bureaucracy’ inhibit climate adaptation and partner building?
  • The sometimes controversial relationship between tribes and climate scientists.

Raw transcripts of this episode are available here.

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