Hostname: page-component-7dc689bd49-sqk25 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-21T02:38:20.345Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Indigenous Women, Climate Change Impacts, and Collective Action

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020


Indigenous peoples must adapt to current and coming climate‐induced environmental changes like sea‐level rise, glacier retreat, and shifts in the ranges of important species. For some indigenous peoples, such changes can disrupt the continuance of the systems of responsibilities that their communities rely on self‐consciously for living lives closely connected to the earth. Within this domain of indigeneity, some indigenous women take seriously the responsibilities that they may perceive they have as members of their communities. For the indigenous women who have such outlooks, responsibilities that they assume in their communities expose them to harms stemming from climate change impacts and other environmental changes. Yet at the same time, their commitment to these responsibilities motivates them to take on leadership positions in efforts at climate change adaptation and mitigation. I show why, at least for some indigenous women, this is an important way of framing the climate change impacts that affect them. I then argue that there is an important implication in this conversation for how we understand the political responsibilities of nonindigenous parties for supporting distinctly indigenous efforts at climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Copyright © 2014 by Hypatia, Inc.

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Abate, Randall S., and Kronk, Elizabeth Ann. 2013. Commonality among unique indigenous communities: An introduction to climate change and its impacts on indigenous peoples. Tulane Environmental Law Journal 26: 179333.Google Scholar
Akii, Kwe. 1998. Minobimaatisiiwin: We are to care for her. Position paper from Women of Bkejwanong (Walpole Island) First Nation, Ontario.Google Scholar
Alfred, Gerald R. 1999. Peace, power, righteousness: An indigenous manifesto. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Anaya, S. James. 2004. Indigenous peoples in international law. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Apgar, Marina, ed. 2011. Analytical background paper on the legal aspects of REDD+ and recent REDD+ policy developments. Lima, Peru: Asociación Andes ‐ Indigenous Peoples´ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative. (accessed September 24, 2013).Google Scholar
Arquette, Mary, Cole, Maxine, Cook, Katsi, LaFrance, Brenda, Peters, Margaret, Ransom, James, Sargent, Elvera, Smoke, Vivian, and Stairs, Arlene. 2002. Holistic risk‐based environmental decision‐making: A native perspective. Environmental Health Perspectives 110 (2): 259–64.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Borrows, John. 2002. Recovering Canada: The resurgence of indigenous law. Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
Cave, Kate, General, Paul, Johnston, Jodi, May, Bradley, McGregor, Deb, Plummer, Ryan, and Wilson, Peigi. 2011. The power of participatory dialogue: Why talking about climate change matters. Indigenous Policy Journal 22 (13): 110.Google Scholar
Corbiere, Alan, McGregor, D., and Migwans, Crystal, eds. 2011. Anishinaabewin niizh. M'Chigeeng. Ontario, Canada: Ojibwe Cultural Foundation.Google Scholar
Cordalis, Daniel, and Suagee, Dean. 2008. The effects of climate change on American Indian and Alaska native tribes. Natural Resources & Environment 22 (3): 4549.Google Scholar
Cuomo, Chris J. 2011. Climate change, vulnerability, and responsibility. Hypatia 26 (4): 690714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, Lynne ed. 2010. Alliances: Re/envisioning indigenous‐non‐indigenous relationships. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
Denton, Fatma. 2002. Climate change vulnerability, impacts, and adaptation: Why does gender matter? Gender & Development 10 (2): 1020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dictaan‐Bang‐oa, Eleanor. 2009. Perishing past and pride: Indigenous women and climate change. Women in Action 2: 4750.Google Scholar
Figueroa, Robert Melchior. 2011. Indigenous peoples and cultural losses. In The Oxford handbook of climate change and society, ed. Dryzek, J. S., Norgaard, R. B. and Schlosberg, D.Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Glazebrook, Trish. 2011. Women and climate change: A case‐study from Northeast Ghana. Hypatia 26 (4): 762–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
GLIFWC. 2006. Iskigamizigan (sugarbush) a sequel to growing up Ojibwe, Mazina'igan supplement: Odanah, Wisc.: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. (accessed September 24, 2013).Google Scholar
Green, Joyce, ed. 2007. Making space for indigenous feminism. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
Grossman, Zoltán. 2008. Indigenous nations' responses to climate change. American Indian Culture & Research Journal 32 (3): 527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grossman, Zoltán, and Parker, Alan. 2012. Asserting native resilience: Pacific rim indigenous nations face the climate crisis. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.Google Scholar
Holmes, E., Lickers, H., and Barkley, B. 2002. A critical assessment of ten years of on‐the‐ground sustainable forestry in Eastern Ontario's settled landscape. Forestry Chronicle 78 (5): 643–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kimmerer, Robin. 2000. Native knowledge for native ecosystems. Journal of Forestry 98 (8): 49.Google Scholar
Krakoff, Sarah. 2008. American Indians, climate change, and ethics for a warming world. Denver University Law Review 85: 865.Google Scholar
Krakoff, Sarah. 2011. Radical adaptation, justice, and American Indian nations. Environmental Justice 4 (4): 207–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kretz, Lisa. 2012. Climate change: Bridging the theory‐action gap. Ethics & the Environment 17 (2): 927.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kronik, Jakob, and Verner, Dorte. 2010. Indigenous peoples and climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean. Washington, D.C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
LaDuke, Winona. 1999. All our relations: Native struggles for land and life. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press.Google Scholar
Lavalley, Giselle. 2006. Aboriginal traditional knoweldge and source water protection: First nations' views on taking care of water. Toronto: Chiefs of Ontario and Environment Canada.Google Scholar
Liu, Jianguo, Dietz, Thomas, Carpenter, Stephen R., Alberti, Marina, Folke, Carl, Redman, Charles L., Schneider, Stephen H., Ostrom, Elinor, Pell, Alice N., Lubchenco, Jane, Taylor, William W., Ouyang, Zhiyun, Deadman, Peter, Kratz, Timothy, and Provencher, William. 2007. Coupled human and natural systems. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 36 (8): 639–49.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lynn, Kathy, Daigle, John, Hoffman, Jennie, Lake, Frank, Michelle, Natalie, Ranco, Darren, Viles, Carson, Voggesser, Garrit, and Williams, Paul. 2013. The impacts of climate change on tribal traditional foods. Climatic Change 120 (3): 545–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Macchi, Mirjam, Oviedo, Gonzalo, Gotheil, Sarah, Cross, Katherine, Boedhihartono, Agni, Wolfangel, Caterina, and Howell, Matthew. 2008. Indigenous and traditional peoples and climate change. Issues paper, March. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature.Google Scholar
Maldonado, Julie Koppel, Pandya, Rajul E., and Colombi, Benedict J. 2013. Climate change and indigenous peoples in the United States: Impacts, experiences, and actions. Climatic Change 120 (3): 509682.Google Scholar
Mandaluyong Declaration. 2011. Mandaluyong declaration of the global conference on indigenous women, climate change and REDD plus. In Indigenous women, climate change & forests, ed. Tebtebba. Baguio City, Philippines: Tebtebba Foundation.Google Scholar
Mauro, Francesco, and Hardison, Preston D. 2000. Traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities: International debate and policy initiatives. Ecological Applications 10 (5): 1263–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mayer, Lorraine. 2007. A return to reciprocity. Hypatia 22 (3): 2242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McGregor, D., and Whitaker, S. 2001. Water quality in the province of Ontario: An aboriginal knowledge perspective. Toronto: Chiefs of Ontario.Google Scholar
McGregor, Deborah. 2005. Traditional ecological knowledge: An Anishnabe woman's perspective. Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice 29 (2): 103–09.Google Scholar
McGregor, Deborah. 2009. Honouring our relations: An Anishnaabe perspective on environmental justice. In speaking for ourselves: Environmental justice in Canada, ed. Agyeman, J., Cole, P. and Haluza‐Delay, R.Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
McGregor, Deborah. 2012. Traditional knowledge: Considerations for protecting water in Ontario. International Indigenous Policy Journal 3 (3): 11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Merculieff, Larry. 2007. Native perspectives on sustainability: Larry Merculieff (Aleut). In Native perspectives on sustainability. Interviewed by David Hall. (accessed September 23, 2013).Google Scholar
Middleton, Beth Rose. 2011. Trust in the land: New directions in tribal conservation. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
Mother Earth Water Walk. 2013. Mother Earth Water Walk. (accessed April 14, 2013).Google Scholar
Nadasdy, P. 1999. The politics of Tek: Power and the “integration” of knowledge. Arctic Anthropology 36 (1–2): 118.Google Scholar
Nakashima, D. J., Galloway McLean, K., Thulstrup, H. D., Ramos Castillo, A., and Rubis, J. T. 2012. Weathering uncertainty: Traditional knowledge for climate change assessment and adaptation. Paris: UNESCO and Darwin, Australia: United Nations University.Google Scholar
Napoleon, Val. 2005. Aboriginal self determination: Individual self and collective selves. Atlantis: A Women's Studies Journal 29 (2): 3146.Google Scholar
Ortiz, S. J., and Chino, M. 1980. Fight back: For the sake of the people, for the sake of the land. Albuquerque: Institute for Native American Development, University of New Mexico.Google Scholar
Osofsky, Hari M. 2006. The Inuit petition as a bridge? Beyond dialectics of climate change and indigenous peoples' rights. American Indian Law Review 31 (2): 675–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pierotti, Raymond, and Wildcat, Daniel. 2000. Traditional ecological knowledge: The third alternative. Ecological Applications 10 (5): 1333–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ranco, Darren, O'Neill, Catherine A., Donatuto, Jamie, and Harper, Barbara L. 2011. Environmental justice, American Indians and the cultural dilemma: Developing environmental management for tribal health and well‐being. Environmental Justice 4 (4): 221–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roehr, Bob. 2012. AAAS coalition explores perspectives of indigenous communities on climate change. American Association for the Advancement of Science News Release, February 6.Google Scholar
Ross, Anne, Sherman, Richard, Snodgrass, Jeffrey G., and Delcore, Henry D. 2010. Indigenous peoples and the collaborative stewardship of nature: Knowledge binds and institutional conflicts. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
Salick, Jan, and Byg, Anja. 2007. Indigenous peoples and climate change. Oxford: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.Google Scholar
Shearer, Christine. 2011. Kivalina: A climate change story. Chicago: Haymarket Books.Google Scholar
Smith, Andrea. 2005. Conquest: Sexual violence and American Indian genocide. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press.Google Scholar
Tauli‐Corpuz, Victoria, and Lynge, Aqqaluk. 2008. Impact of climate change mitigation measures on indigenous peoples and on their territories and lands. New York: UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.Google Scholar
Tebtebba. 2006. UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples & programme of the second international decade of the world's indigenous people. Baguio City, Philippines: Tebtebba Foundation.Google Scholar
Tebtebba. 2011. Indigenous women, climate change and forests. Baguio City, Philippines: Tebtebba Foundation.Google Scholar
Thomas, Laurence. 2006. Moral deference. In Moral issues in global perspective 2: Human diversity and equality, ed. Koggel, Christine. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press.Google Scholar
Tinker, G. E. 2004. Spirit and resistance: Political theology and American Indian liberation. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
Trosper, Ronald L. 2007. Indigenous influence on forest management on the Menominee Indian reservation. Forest Ecology and Management 249 (1): 134–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Trosper, Ronald L. 2009. Resilience, reciprocity and ecological economics: Northwest coast sustainability. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tsosie, Rebecca. 2010. Indigenous peoples and global climate change: Intercultural models of climate equity. Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation 25: 718.Google Scholar
Turner, Dale A. 2006. This is not a peace pipe: Towards a critical indigenous philosophy. Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press.Google ScholarPubMed
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). 2008. Climate change and indigenous peoples: Backgrounder. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
Voggesser, Garrit. 2010. The tribal path forward: Confronting climate change and conserving nature. Wildlife Professional 4 (4): 2430.Google Scholar
Weaver, Jace. 1996. Defending mother earth: Native American perspectives on environmental justice. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
Whyte, Kyle Powys. 2013. Justice forward: Tribes, climate adaptation and responsibility. Climatic Change 120 (3): 517–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wildcat, Daniel R. 2009. Red alert! Saving the planet with indigenous knowledge. Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum.Google Scholar
Willox, Ashlee Cunsolo, Harper, Sherilee L., Edge, Victoria L., Landman, Karen, Houle, Karen, and Ford, James D. 2011. The land enriches the soul: On climatic and environmental change, affect, and emotional health and well‐being in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, Canada. Emotion, Space and Society 6 (February): 1424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wotkyns, Susan Rose. 2013. Tribes and climate change. Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals. (accessed March 24, 2013).Google Scholar
Yanez, Ivonne. 2009. Engendering equity in Ecuador's ecosystem. Women in Action 2: 3336.Google Scholar