First Nations Shines Light on Native-led Climate Strategies

Three newly released publications explore Native knowledge and practices in addressing climate change and environmental justice

LONGMONT, Colorado (November 30, 2023) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced the publication of three reports aimed to elevate community stories of adaptation in the face of environmental injustice. These reports highlight the work supported by three grant programs launched in 2021: Green Jobs in Indian Country, Climate Resiliency in Indian Country, and Regional Dialogues on Climate Resiliency.

In December 2021, First Nations received a $5 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund to support Tribes and Native-led nonprofit organizations in conducting and operationalizing climate change plans, expanding workforce development programs, and facilitating discussions on ways Native knowledge and practices are used to adapt to climate change. At the start of the project, First Nations’ staff hoped to gain a greater understanding of the impacts of climate change on Native peoples, highlight examples of community-led climate action, and elevate models and strategies that may be useful to other Native and non-Native communities as they promote environmental justice.

First Nations Associate Director of Stewarding Native Lands, Jacque Demko, said these reports are inspired by the people striving for environmental, economic, and climate justice to ensure the health of a world for everyone’s benefit. “I hope that the stories and strategies featured in these reports will provide guidance to those who need it and validate the invaluable work Tribes and Native communities have been doing to advance stewardship efforts, strengthen local economies, and address the climate crisis,” she said.

The following are descriptions of each of the new publications.

A Summary of Native Workforce Development Models

This report highlights projects supported through the Green Jobs in Indian Country grant program. This report aims to bring attention to policy, infrastructure, workforce development, and job pathway challenges and opportunities in Indian Country and highlights examples of successful and sustainable workforce development models that may be useful to Native communities and organizations.

Climate Change & Building Adaptive Capacity Across Indian Country

This report highlights projects supported through the Climate Resiliency in Indian Country grant program. This report aims to bring attention to the disproportionate impacts of climate change on Native communities and highlights examples of community-led climate actions that address the impacts of climate change.

Climate Leadership Across Indian Country: A Summary of Regional Climate Change Dialogues

This report highlights projects supported through the Regional Dialogues in Indian Country grant program. This report aims to bring attention to policy and funding barriers and opportunities, models, and community perspectives that may be useful to Tribes and Native communities looking to host discussions, engage in political advocacy efforts, and navigate municipal, state, and federal administrative routes to address the impacts of climate change regionally.

As part of this project, in addition to the reports, more than $3.8 million of the award was distributed directly to communities for project support.

More information about First Nations’ Climate Change and Environmental Justice project can be found here.

About First Nations Development Institute

For 43 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit