California is already experiencing the impacts of climate change.  Indigenous peoples are on the frontlines, enduring and adapting to severe droughts, floods, historic wildfires, rising seas, and record temperatures.  Building resilience to these impacts requires sustained investment in climate change research and science.  Through California’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment and Tribal Research Program, the State is supporting tribally led climate change research initiatives to address this critical need and further support the work already underway in tribal communities. 

Building on lessons learned from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, the Fifth Assessment is supporting a more robust Tribal Research Program. This program will include:

  • A Tribal Advisory Group, which will be a critical component of the Fifth Assessment, ensuring that tribal expertise and Traditional knowledge(s) integration into what has typically been a Western science-dominated process is done so in a culturally appropriate way.
  • Tribal Grant Program, that encourages tribally led research to address California-specific tribal research needs and questions related to climate change.
  • Tribal Synthesis Report that will include incorporation of tribally led research, in additional to existing research, to summarize state-wide climate change impacts to tribes in California.
  • The Assessment will foster ongoing consultation and engagement, and advance the integration of tribal expertise, Traditional knowledge(s) – place based, indigenous ways of knowing that have been sustained within tribal communities for generations – into the Fifth Assessment process and products.

The Assessment will foster ongoing consultation and engagement, and advance the integration of tribal expertise, Traditional knowledge(s) – place based, indigenous ways of knowing that have been sustained within tribal communities for generations – into the Fifth Assessment process and products. Please email Patricia Kennedy, Tribal Research Program Manager, patricia.kennedy@opr.ca.gov for more information.

Tribal Research Program Timeline

Graphic showing Tribal Research Program timeline. Tribal Consultation and Engagement from mid 2022 to mid 2026.  Tribal Advisory Group from late 2022 to mid 2026.  Tribally-Led Research Grants with three Rounds with Round 1 in 2023, Round 2 from 2024 to early 2025, and Round 3 from mid 2025 to mid 2026.  Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Tribal Expertise from 2024 to mid 2026.  Tribal Synthesis Report from 2024 to mid 2026.

For More Information

Patricia Kennedy
As the 5th Assessment Tribal Program Manager, Patricia is the lead staff for the coordination and engagement with California Native American Tribes and facilitating integration of tribal knowledge and science into the Fifth Climate Change Assessment.