Our climate is changing. The effects of climate change are being noticed by
our own people. These changes, coupled with the rapid growth of cities throughout our
homelands; dams across our rivers; and unsustainable forestry, rangeland, and agricultural
practices have drastically altered our traditional way of life, our foods, and many aspects
of our heritage and culture. From the vast information now available concerning climate
change, we understand that its impacts on our natural resources will continue and that our
grandchildren will likely see profound and ever-increasing changes within their lifetimes.
The issues in front of us are not unique to just the Yakama Nation, but can be seen across
all Indian nations. Although we find ourselves at a tipping point, it is not a time to decry
our losses and bemoan our future. We will work with other tribes, and we will learn
together. We must learn how to adapt, as we have done for many thousands of years on
these lands which have always been our home.
We cannot know and anticipate at this time all changes to come—but we can start.
Contained within these pages is the Yakama Nation Climate Adaptation Plan. This Plan
provides a strong foundation for our next steps and sets them into motion. This Plan is
more than just words and pictures. It describes much of our understanding of potential
climate change impacts and establishes preliminary recommendations for our tribal
programs to consider and evaluate and for our tribal leadership to act upon appropriately.
The Yakama Nation Tribal Council directs all of our community and natural resource
programs to carefully assess the vulnerabilities and risks identified in this Climate
Adaptation Plan over the next year. In many cases, these considerations will go
beyond our reservation lands and necessitate an evaluation of resources throughout
the territories of the Yakama Nation. We also direct our programs to prepare and
present recommendations for addressing the vulnerabilities and risks—actions that will
rebuild resilience and durability within these resources for generations to come. These
assessments and recommendations are not intended to be comprehensive, but they
represent a substantial beginning on a long path forward.