Igiugig Receives BIA Tribal Resilience Grant

Written by
Sheryl Wassillie
05 July 2019

On September 3, 2018 the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), office of Trust Services – Tribal Resilience Program (TRP) awarded Igiugig $80,241 to build capacity and develop an Adaptation Assessment that addresses extreme events and harmful environmental trends that impact our resources, economy, infrastructure, health and welfare. The title of the grant is, “Igiugig Village Adaptation Assessment Project” which highlights traditional knowledge gathered by community outreach to elders and community members throughout the planning process. The adaptation plan will help bridge the gap of science-based information to a more intertwined plan to involve traditional knowledge to help us enhance our resilience to the changing climate.

Igiugig has always been resilient and adapting and trying to make this a thriving sustainable community. A few examples are our wind turbine and hydro-projects to offset the use of high-priced diesel, our greenhouse operation, our very existence as native people in this area is explanation enough of how resilient we are. We are very observant people and know this land, every nook and cranny is engraved in our blood, so it is critical to involve traditional knowledge. We’ve observed all these new changes in the weather, climate, and what it’s doing to our subsistence resources and now we can obtain the science to show the western science side that our knowledge is accurate and useful.

In the proposal it states that the expected outcomes are as follows:
Igiugig Village is prepared and has a plan to mitigate issues related to the changing environment. The completed Adaptation Assessment will identify risk and strategy to mitigate any damage. Assets are prioritized. Additionally, the capacity of our tribe will have increased greatly. Igiugig Village will have an Adaptation Plan that is mitigation focused action and will anticipate change, plan for a response, plan for monitoring, and reduce risk through training and advocacy.

To form this adaptation plan it needed to include everyone from the community. We had monthly meetings to address what is important to us and what climate hazards are and can impact our community. We then prioritized what we wanted to focus on and that helped us with the next task, explained below.

In June we partnered with Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP) at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska. They will provide climate modeling and interpretation of data to be added to the end product, the Igiugig Adaptation Assessment Project. I’m excited to work with them and eager to find out what is in store for Igiugig as well as the Lake Iliamna area.

I would like to thank Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Resilience Program for giving us the opportunity to create an adaptation assessment. By the end of this grant we will have a strategy to address the changing climate and to be better prepared for an uncertain future.

Igiugig Receives BIA Travel Support Grant

In addition to the resilience grant, BIA Tribal Resilience Program awarded Igiugig $9,178.00, a travel support grant to attend trainings and workshops to help us build capacity and to give us the tools and resources to form an adaptation assessment. It has also been a great way to network and build relationships across Indian country and the nation that are important moving along in this process.

With the funding we were able to send Alexanna and I to Alaska Forum on the Environment which is always a great forum to attend. I was also able to attend the National Adaptation Forum in Madison, Wisconsin where I was able to create relationships with multiple tribal nations from the lower 48. They are doing amazing resiliency work and I am just inspired every time I am around the amazing tribal leaders from all over the nation. We originally just had funding for those two trainings since Karl Hill was supposed to come with me to the NAF but he didn’t so we had some funding left. I heard about the Tribal Climate Camp while at the NAF as well as met Don Sampson and Peggy Harris of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and host tribe, Mike Durgalo Jr. from the Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana who helped put the camp together. They invited me at the last minute and I am just grateful that I met them. There was enough funding for just myself to go but Igiugig Village Council was able to send Tess Hostetter with me, as well. She is a great asset to have while working on this grant.

These trainings, workshops and forums have helped us build capacity, helped us on our adaptation assessment and we’ve built lasting relationships with people across Indian country. It was amazing to see what other people from around the country are doing to adapt from the changing environment. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to travel, to continue to learn and bring that information back to the community.

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Igiugig Tribal Village Council

PO Box 4008
Igiugig, AK 99613

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