You are here
Home > News > Indigenous communities to receive $46M in climate funding

Indigenous communities to receive $46M in climate funding

Cutline: Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) (File photo)

The Interior Department announced April 11 that tribal communities would receive $46 million in new climate funding to help address the impacts of climate change.

Researchers say climate change affects Indigenous people disproportionately – leaving many more vulnerable to its impacts – which is partly due to a reduction or loss of historic lands over time. The consequences include reduced access to traditional foods, decreased water quality and exposure to various health hazards. In Florida, the Seminole Tribe sees impacts such as sea level rise, flooding, more frequent and powerful storms and hurricanes and increased temperatures.

The new funding is available for initiatives that address climate resilience and adaptation, the Interior Department said in a news release.

“As the effects of climate change continue to intensify, Indigenous communities are facing unique climate-related challenges that pose existential threats to tribal economies, infrastructure, lives and livelihoods,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in the release.

“Coastal communities are facing flooding, erosion, permafrost subsidence, sea level rise and storm surges, while inland communities are facing worsening drought and extreme heat.”

Haaland said the federal government’s investments will “help bolster community resilience, replace aging infrastructure, and provide support needed for climate-related community-driven relocation and adaptation.”

Climate change has had a particularly outsized effect in Alaska Native communities, which make up 40% of federally recognized U.S. tribes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says those communities have seen an accelerated rate of rising temperatures, melting sea ice and thawing permafrost, which has taken a toll on critical infrastructure and Native traditions. Some coastal communities have been forced to relocate to higher ground, while others have had to adjust to habitat degradation and extreme changes in ecosystems.

Meanwhile, Indigenous people have led the way in developing solutions for climate change, which the Interior Department mentioned in its funding announcement. The hope is that the federal government will begin to more formally implement Tribal Ecological Knowledge, or TEK, into its climate resilience strategies. Tribes want TEK to be considered in decision-making about species and habitats, for long-term climate change strategy and to collaborate with Indigenous peoples on other environmental topics of common interest.

The Interior Department is accepting proposals from tribal communities who wish to receive a portion of the $46 million in funding. In all, the Biden administration’s infrastructure law allocates $466 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs over five years, including $216 million for climate resilience programs. Click here or go to for more.