Skip to main content

The impacts of climate change on tribal traditional foods

Abstract

American Indian and Alaska Native tribes are uniquely affected by climate change. Indigenous peoples have depended on a wide variety of native fungi, plant and animal species for food, medicine, ceremonies, community and economic health for countless generations. Climate change stands to impact the species and ecosystems that constitute tribal traditional foods that are vital to tribal culture, economy and traditional ways of life. This paper examines the impacts of climate change on tribal traditional foods by providing cultural context for the importance of traditional foods to tribal culture, recognizing that tribal access to traditional food resources is strongly influenced by the legal and regulatory relationship with the federal government, and examining the multi-faceted relationship that tribes have with places, ecological processes and species. Tribal participation in local, regional and national climate change adaption strategies, with a focus on food-based resources, can inform and strengthen the ability of both tribes and other governmental resource managers to address and adapt to climate change impacts.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • American Meteorological Society (AMS) (2012) Climate change: An information statement of the American Meteorological Society. http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2012climatechange.pdf. Accessed 4 Jan 2013

  • Anderson TL, Parker DP (2009) Economic development lessons from and for North American Indian economies. Aust J Agric Resour Econ 53:105–127. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8489.2007.00426.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Basu A, Du M, Leyva MJ, Sanchez K, Betts NM, Wu M, Aston CE, Lyons TJ (2010) Blueberries decrease cardiovascular risk factors in obese men and women with metabolic syndrome. J Nutr 140:1582–1587. doi:10.3945/jn.110.124701

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beechie T, Imaki H, Greene J, Wade A, Wu H, Pess G, Roni P, Kimball J, Stanford J, Kiffney P, Mantua N (2012) Restoring salmon habitat for a changing climate. River Res Appl. doi:10.1002/rra.2590

  • Blukis Onat AR (2002) Resource cultivation on the northwest coast of North America. J Northwest Anthropol 36:125–144

    Google Scholar 

  • Boyce VL, Swinburn BA (1993) The traditional Pima diet: composition and adaptation for use in a dietary intervention study. Diabetes Care 16:369–371. doi:10.2337/diacare.16.1.369

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burns Kraft TF, Dey M, Rogers RB, Ribnicky DM, Gipp DM, Cefalu WT, Raskin U, Lila MA (2008) Photochemical composition and metabolic performance-enhancing activity of dietary berries traditionally used by Native North Americans. J Agric Food Chem 56:654–660. doi:10.1021/jf071999d

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Campbell SK, Butler VL (2010) Archaeological evidence for resilience of Pacific Northwest salmon populations and the socioecological system over the last 7,500 years. Ecol Soc 15:17

    Google Scholar 

  • Center For Progressive Reform (CPR) (2011) Climate change and the Puget Sound: building the legal framework for adaptation. www.progressivereform.org/articles/Puget_Sound_Adaptation_1108.pdf. Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Colombi BJ (2009) Salmon nation: climate change and tribal sovereignty. In: Crate SA, Nuttall M (eds) Anthropology and climate change. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, pp 186–195

    Google Scholar 

  • Conti KM (2006) Diabetes prevention in Indian country: developing models to tell the story of food-system change. J Transcult Nurs 17:234–245. doi:10.1177/1043659606288380

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cook K (1996) Using the berry plants for nutrition and medicine. Indigenous Women’s Network. http://www.indigenouspeople.net/berry.htm. Accessed 14 Oct 2012

  • Daigle JJ, Putnam D (2009) The meaning of a changed environment: initial assessment of climate change impacts in Maine – indigenous peoples. In: Jacobson GL, Fernandez IJ, Mayewski PA, Schmitt CV (eds) Maine’s climate future: An initial assessment. University of Maine, Orono, pp 35–38

    Google Scholar 

  • DeGonzague B, Receveur O, Wedll D, Kuhnlein HV (1999) Dietary intake and body mass index of adults in two Ojibwe communities. J Am Diet Assoc 99:710–716. doi:10.1016/S0002-8223(99)00170-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dittmer K (2013) Changing streamflow on columbia basin tribal lands-climate change and salmon. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0745-0

  • Eckart K (2012) Traditional foods help remind us who we are. Yes! Fall 2012 issue. http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/its-your-body/tribe-revives-traditional-diet. Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Feely RA, Klinger T, Newton JA, Chadsey M (2012) Scientific Summary of Ocean Acidification in Washington State Marine Waters. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) OAR Special Report

  • Frink DS, Dow J (2005) When the shad-blow blooms; an archaeology story. Burlington, VT: Unpublished Report

  • Grah O, Beaulieu J (2013) The effect of climate change on glacier ablation and baseflow support in the nooksack river basin and implications on pacific salmon species protection and recovery. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0747-y

  • Harley CDG (2011) Climate change, keystone predation, and biodiversity loss. Science 334:1124–1127. doi:10.1126/science.1210199

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoene N (2010) Climate change, an Ojibwe perspective. Seiche Newsletter. Minnesota Sea Grant Newsletter. March 2010. http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/newsletter/2010/03/climate_change_an_ojibwe_perspective.html. Accessed 19 Jan 2013

  • Hunn ES (1990) Nch’i-Wána, “The Big River”: Mid-Columbia Indian and Their Land. University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 378 p

    Google Scholar 

  • Huntington HP, Fox S (2005) Chapter 3– The changing Arctic: Indigenous perspectives. In: Carolyn Symon (lead ed) Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge pp 61–98

  • Industrial Economics Inc, Research Planning Inc (2011) Development and implementation of the climate assessment and proactive response initiative (CAPRI) for Puget Sound. Prepared for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). http://www.darrp.noaa.gov/northwest/puget_sound/pdf/2011-11-03_DraftFinalCAPRI_NOAAWhitepaper.pdf. Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007a) Summary for policymakers. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the IPCC. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 7–22

    Google Scholar 

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007b) In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: The physical science basis, Contributions of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the IPCC. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 996 p

    Google Scholar 

  • Jernigan VBB, Salvatore AL, Styne DM, Winkleby M (2012) Addressing food insecurity in a Native American reservation using community-based participatory research. Health Educ Res 27:645–655. doi:10.1093/her/cyr089

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jones K, Poole G, Quaempts EJ, O’Daniel S, Beechie T (2008) Umatilla River Vision. http://www.ykfp.org/par10/html/CTUIRDNRUmatillaRiverVision100108.pdf. Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Kellogg J, Wang J, Flint C, Ribnicky D, Kuhn P, González de Mejia E, Raskin I, Lila MA (2010) Alaska wild berry resources and human health under the cloud of climate change. J Agric Food Chem 58:3884–3900. doi:10.1021/jf902693r

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kleypas JA, Feely RA, Fabry VJ, Langdon C, Sabine CL, Robbins LL (2006) Impacts of ocean acidification on coral reefs and other marine calcifiers: a guide for future research. Report of a workshop held 18–20 April 2005, St. Petersburg, FL, sponsored by NSF, NOAA, and the U.S. Geological Survey

  • Kocan RM, Hershberger PK, Winton JM (2004) Ichthyophoniasis: an emerging disease of chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha in the Yukon River. J Aquat Anim Health 16:58–72

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kuhnlein HV, Receveur O (1996) Dietary change and traditional food systems of indigenous peoples. Annu Rev Nutr 16:417–442. doi:10.1146/annurev.nu.16.070196.002221

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kuhnlein HV, Erasmus B, Spigelski D (2009) Indigenous peoples’ food systems: the many dimensions of culture, diversity and environment for nutrition and health. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome. http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i0370e/i0370e00.htm. Accessed 19 Jan 2013

  • Lobell DB, Burke MB, Tebaldi C, Mastrandea MD, Falcon WP, Naylor RL (2008) Prioritizing climate change adaptation needs for food security in 2030. Science 319(5863):607–610. doi:10.1126/science.1152339

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maldonado JK, Shearer C, Bronen R, Peterson K, Lazrus H (2013) The impact of climate change on tribal communities in the US: displacement, relocation, and human rights. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0746-z

  • Mantua N, Tohver I, Hamlet A (2010) Climate change impacts on streamflow extremes and summertime stream temperature and their possible consequences for freshwater salmon habitat in Washington State. Clim Chang 102:187–223. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9845-2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McKay KL, Renk NF (2002) Currents and undercurrents: an administrative history of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Washington. Coulee Dam, Wash: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

  • Meltzer DJ (1999) Human responses to middle Holocene (Altithermal) climates on the North America Great Plains. Quat Res 52:404–416

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Michelle N (2012) Uses of plant food-medicines in the Wabanaki bioregions of the Northeast; a cultural assessment of berry harvesting practices and customs. University of Maine, Orono

    Google Scholar 

  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (Minnesota) (2008) Natural wild rice in Minnesota. http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/fish_wildlife/wildlife/shallowlakes/natural-wild-rice-in-minnesota.pdf. Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Moss ML, Peteet DM, Whitlock C (2007) Mid-Holocene culture and climate on the Northwest coast of North America. In: Anderson DG, Maasch K, Sandweiss DH (eds) Climate change and cultural dynamics: a global perspective on mid-Holocene transitions. Academic, London, pp 491–530

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Mote PW, Parson EA, Hamlet AF, Keeton WS, Lettenmaier D, Mantua N, Miles EL, Peterson DW, Peterson DL, Slaughter R, Snover AK (2003) Preparing for climate change: the water, salmon, and forests of the Pacific Northwest. Clim Chang 61:45–88

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nabhan GP (2010) Perspectives in ethnobiology: ethnophenology and climate change. J Ethnobiol 30:1–4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • National Research Council (NRC) (2010a) Advancing the science of climate change. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • National Research Council (NRC), 2010b (2010b) Ocean acidification: a national strategy to meet the challenges of a changing ocean. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Newsome SD, Phillips DL, Culleton BJ, Guilderson TP, Koch PL (2004) Dietary reconstruction of an early to middle Holocene human population from central California coast: insights from advanced stable isotope mixing models. J Archaeol Sci 31:1101–1115. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2004.02.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Norgaard KM (2005) The effects of altered diet on the health of the Karuk people. http://karuk.us/press/2005/Health Effects of Altered Diet.pdf. Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Norris T, Vines P, Hoeffel EM (2012) The American Indian and Alaska Native population: 2010. United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-10.pdf. Accessed 19 Jan 2013

  • Orr JC, Fabry VJ, Aumont O, Bopp L, Doney SC, Feely RA, Gnanadesikan A, Gruber N, Ishida A, Joos F, Key RM, Lindsay K, Maier-Reimer E, Matear R, Monfray P, Mouchet A, Najjar RG, Plattner GK, Rodgers KB, Sabine CL, Sarmiento JL, Schlitzer R, Slater RD, Totterdell IJ, Weirig MF, Yamanaka Y, Yool A (2005) Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms. Nature 437:681–686

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pacific Northwest Tribal Climate Change Project (PNW TCCP) (2012) First Foods and climate change. Pacific Northwest Tribal Climate Change Project profile. http://www4.nau.edu/tribalclimatechange/tribes/tdk_firstfoods.asp. Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Parrotta JA, Agnoletti M (2012) Traditional forest-related knowledge and climate change. In: Parrotta JA, Trosper RL (eds) Traditional forest-related knowledge: Sustaining communities, ecosystems and biocultural diversity. World Forests Volume 12. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 491–533

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Paul A (2010) Forest Service wants to boost huckleberries. Albany Democrat-Herald Newspaper, 25 December 2010. http://democratherald.com/news/local/forest-service-wants-to-boost-huckleberries/article_e2631f2c-0fe6-11e0-a692-001cc4c03286.html. Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Power EM (2008) Conceptualizing food security for aboriginal people in Canada. C J Public Health 99:95–98

    Google Scholar 

  • Ravussin E, Valencia ME, Esparza J, Bennett PH, Schulz LO (1994) Effects of a traditional lifestyle on obesity in Pima Indians. Diabetes Care 17:1067–1074. doi:10.2337/diacare.17.9.1067

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Redsteer MH, Kelley KB, Francis H, Block D (2010) Disaster risk assessment case study: recent drought on the Navajo nation, southwestern United States. UN Global Assessment Report 2011. http://www.preventionweb.net/english/hyogo/gar/2011/en/bgdocs/Redsteer_Kelley_Francis_&_Block_2010.pdf . Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Sabine CL, Feely RA, Gruber N, Key R, Lee K, Bullister JL, Wanninkhof R, Wong CS, Wallace DWR, Tilbrook B, Millero FJ, Peng TH, Kozyr A, Ono T, Rios AF (2004) The oceanic sink for anthropogenic CO2. Science 305:367–371. doi:10.1126/science.1097403

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Seeram NP (2008) Berry fruits: compositional elements, biochemical activities, and the impact of their intake on human health, performance, and disease. J Agric Food Chem 56:627–629. doi:10.1021/jf071988k

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Teufel NI (1996) Nutrient-health associations in the historic and contemporary diets of Southwest Native Americans. J Nutr Environ Med 6:179–190. doi:10.3109/13590849609001044

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Trainer VL, Eberhart BTL, Wekell JC, Adams NG, Hanson L, Cox F, Dowell J (2003) Paralytic shellfish toxins in Puget Sound, Washington State. J Shellfish Res 22:213–223

    Google Scholar 

  • Verbrugge L (2010) Traditional foods in Alaska: potential threats from contaminants and climate change. State of Alaska Division of Public Health. Power Point Presentation. http://www.climatechange.alaska.gov/docs/afe10/3_Verbrugge.pdf. Accessed 14 Nov 2012

  • Washington (WA) State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification (2012) Ocean acidification: from knowledge to action, Washington State’s strategic response. Adelsman H, Whitely Binder L (eds) Washington Department of Ecology, Olympia, Washington. Publication no. 12-01-015. https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/summarypages/1201015.html. Accessed 19 Jan 2013

  • Watt-Cloutier S, Fenge T, Crowley P (2004) Responding to global climate change: the perspective of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference on the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. http://inuitcircumpolar.com/index.php?ID=267. Accessed 19 Jan 2013

  • White SM (2004) Bridging the worlds of fire managers and researchers: lessons and opportunities from the wildland fire workshops. USDA Forest Service, PNW-GTR-599

  • Whyte K (2013) Justice forward: tribes, climate adaptation and responsibility in indian country. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0743-2

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kathy Lynn.

Additional information

This article is part of a Special Issue on “Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Impacts, Experiences, and Actions” edited by Julie Koppel Maldonado, Rajul E. Pandya, and Benedict J. Colombi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lynn, K., Daigle, J., Hoffman, J. et al. The impacts of climate change on tribal traditional foods. Climatic Change 120, 545–556 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0736-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0736-1

Keywords

  • Climate Change
  • Indigenous People
  • Climate Change Impact
  • Wild Rice
  • Traditional Food