I was honored to have been invited to join the Indigenous Peoples’ Working Group on Climate Change, held at that National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. My invitation came via John Topping of the Climate Institute, a DC friend of a tech-industry friend.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Working Group on Climate Change is a beautiful example of the strong and fruitful partnership between Native Tribes and Tribal Colleges on the one hand, and Federal Agencies such as USGS and the EPA on the other. I was able to meet the people behind the first Indigenous contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Indigenous people are taking action to prepare for climate change
From the first light in Massachusetts to the sunset in Hawaii, the range of indigenous people in what we now call the United States is represented in this group. I was delighted to meet Casey Kahn-Thornbrugh, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag, the tribe of my mother’s teacher. My cup truly ran over when I clapped eyes on the Hawaaiian contingent, M. Kalani Souza of the Olohana Foundation and Dave Thomas of NOAA’s Ocean Services.
Casey Kahn-Thornbrugh, Mashpee Wampanoag; me, hanai po’e of the Kuamo’o family of Puna; M. Kalani Souza, Native Hawaiian. Unlike my mother, who had a Wamapanoag teacher, I am leaning west.
During the opening protocol, elders who have crossed over were remembered. Included in the honored group was Kumu Mahealani’s cousin, Kumu Raylene Ha’alelea Kawaiaea, who passed in March 2012.
The beautiful first day ended with a sunset reflected on the buildings of Washington, DC.
A reflected sunset seen from the meeting rooms at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.