Climate change and Yakama Nation tribal well-being
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.