A Tribal Menu of Climate Adaptation Strategies
Posted on: May 6, 2019
This piece was designed to represent Ojibwe clans and their role in caring about the earth. The turtle in the centre is a representation of Turtle Island: our lands, waters and home. Artwork by Ziigwanikwe (Katy Bresette), digitized by Bazile Panek.

Adaptation Strategies Include Tribal Perspectives

A team of individuals from a variety of agencies, tribes and academic institutions on the U.S. side of Lake Superior have put together a document that provides valuable information about climate change. A plethora of documents deal with climate change, but this document is unique in that Indigenous perspective is incorporated into a broad “menu” of adaptation strategies and approaches. The 52 page document, titled Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu, is published by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) and is available on their website. GLIFWC represents eleven Ojibwa tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Go Directly to the Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu.

As the Adaptation Menu itself states, the document “provides a framework to integrate Indigenous and traditional knowledge, culture, language and history into the climate adaptation planning process.” In the abstract at the beginning of the document, the authors state that the menu is based on Ojibwe and Menominee knowledge but is also intended to be adaptable to and useful for other Indigenous communities.

Tribes on the U.S. side of Lake Superior are constantly sharing information and working together on environmental programs. Some cross-border cooperation is also taking place. The Red Rock Indian Band, located at Nipigon, Ontario has been working on environmental initiatives related to climate change, watershed planning and environmental monitoring. Over the past couple of years, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota has worked with the Red Rock Band in a kind of mentoring capacity. Band and tribal representatives have visited back and forth, some 185 km./114 mi. apart, across the international boundary. In similar fashion, hopefully, strategies and information outlined in the Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu can be shared between tribes and bands around the entire lake.

Cultural and Practical Perspectives

Strategies outlined in the document provide both cultural and practical perspective including the following:

  • Consider cultural practices and seek spiritual guidance
  • Support tribal engagement in the environment
  • Reduce the risk and long-term impact of disturbances
  • Promote connectivity across the landscape
  • Maintain and enhance genetic diversity
  • Accommodate altered hydrologic processes

The Adaptation Strategy Should be Useful for All People Around Superior

The Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu is well written and an excellent means for learning about climate change adaptation and Indigenous environmental perspective. It should be of use to all people around Lake Superior.

The document closes by stating:

From the lands of the Lake Superior Ojibwe and Menominee Nations, we hope this document provides constructive guidance and insight as we all work to find our place and purpose in supporting a more ecologically sound, just, and equitable future for all aspects of creation. Miigwech—Waewaenen—Thank you


Tribal Adaptation Menu Team. 2019. Dibaginjigaadeg Anishinaabe Ezhitwaad: A Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu. Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Odanah, Wisconsin. 54 p.

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