Tribal Research Program
Building on lessons learned from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, the Fifth Assessment is supporting a more robust Tribal Research Program.
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, email@example.com for more information.
Tribal Research Program Timeline
Links and Resources
Ms. Williams-Claussen is a Yurok Tribal member raised near her ancestral village of Wehl-kwew’ in Yurok country, a Harvard graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemical Sciences, a Master’s Candidate in Natural Resources with an emphasis in conservation policy at California Polytechnic Humboldt, and has 15 years of on-the-ground wildlife and ecosystem management and research experience in Yurok country and surrounding lands in northern California. As such she brings with her a balanced perspective on the needs of integrating traditional and Indigenous knowledge with Western science to address today’s growing climate impacts. As Director of the Yurok Tribe’s Wildlife Department, she is part of an integrated team within the Tribe’s Natural Resource Division, and so can also serve as a conduit to other Natural Resource Department Directors in regard to a variety of ecological questions.
Raymond Gutteriez is the Eco-Cultural Ecologist for the Wuksachi Indian Tribe. He started his career in natural resources in 2009 as an intern with UC Merced’s NSF-REU where he studied forest stand relationship with California Spotted Owl nesting and reproduction success. His early career work was as a seasonal biological technician for the NPS, USFS, USGS, and as a Americorps member with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy, then attended the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in pursuit of a master’s degree. After working for Hoopa Tribal Forestry as a Youth Intern Coordinator and Wildlife technician. After this returning to his ancestral homelands, Raymond accepted a position with Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians as their Environmental Program Manager, where he was responsible for the EPA General Assistance grant and part 106 and 319 water quality grants. Then he moved on to work for the Great Basin Institute with the Hume Lake Range District. After which he was hired by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as an Environmental Scientist.
Raymond is committed to the revitalization of his community’s culture and relationship to land. He practices a number of ancestral skills: flint knapping, cultural burning, friction fire, bow making, and tends to food and medicine plants.
Connor is an experienced Natural & Working Lands Specialist focusing on the critical relationships and responsibilities associated with conserving, restoring, and managing Southern Californian Natural and Working Lands. He integrates his work at the Climate Science Alliance with graduate research at the Institute of the Environment-Working Lands Innovation Center and as a National Science Foundation Research Trainee at the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute-Sustainable Oceans. Connor works closely with scientists, managers, agricultural partners, Tribal representatives, and other partners to support climate adaptation strategies within ecosystem stewardship. He is a Pala Tribal citizen (Payomkawichum/Cahuilla) and works to integrate his peoples’ Traditional Ecological Knowledge with emerging and innovative technologies. Connor acquired a B.S. in Sustainability Studies at the University of California, Riverside, and continues his academic pursuits as a Ph.D. student in Ecology at the University of California, Davis.
Honorable Christina McDonald is the Vice Chairperson for North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians. Vice Chair McDonald has over 12 years of tribal government project development and a strong background in executive board leadership and policy making. As the Environmental Director for North Fork Rancheria from 2013-2021, she brings with her a robust background in environmental sciences and cultural resource management. She is versed in facilitating government- to- government relationships with County, State, and Federal agencies and has an extensive experience providing nourishing efforts of local, state, federal non-profit organizations, and local tribes.
Will is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians, a federally recognized Indian Tribe and Ewiiaapaayp Indian Reservation in east San Diego County, California, since 1995. Will is CEO of the Tribe’s federally chartered tribal corporation, the Leaning Rock Business Corporation. Will is also CEO of the Tribe’s non-governmental organization (NGO) certified by the United Nations for civil society consultative status since 2014. In 2018, Will completed ten years as Executive Director of the California Association of Tribal Governments (CATG), the state-wide, inter-tribal, non-profit association of federally recognized Indian tribes in the state of California, with 34 member tribes that serves the interests of all 110 California tribes, and the largest regional inter-tribal association in the U.S. CATG dissolved in fulfillment of its priority objective to merge with the three regional tribal chairman’s associations to form the California Tribal Chairman’s Association.
Will is an elected tribal official serving his fourteenth term (28 years) as Assemblymember and eighth term (16 years) as a Vice President of the Executive Council for the Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Will is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tlingit & Haida Tribal Business Corporation (THTBC), a federally chartered tribal corporation operating commercial business enterprises for the Central Council.
Teresa Romero has served formerly as the Environmental Director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash. Teresa, with three other Indigenous women established a non-profit, the Native Coast Action Network (www.nativecoast.org) to help west coast indigenous communities build capacity and assist in implementing cultural and traditional ecological initiatives. Teresa brings experience and knowledge on how to build good partnerships, collaborations and relationships with Native Nations. Teresa believes in building these through respect and trust. Teresa is an enrolled member of the Coastal Band of Chumash and is a member Syuxtun Plant Collective, a traditional plant collective focusing on tending, gathering and preparation of traditional plants. Teresa is serving on the MPA Statewide Leadership Team as a Southern California Tribal Representative since 2019; serves on the Executive Committee for the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and is an elected representative for the Region 9 EPA Tribal Caucus and the Steering Committee for Central Coast Climate Collaborative. Teresa has worked for over 20 years assisting Tribal Communities on projects, such as acquiring lands for the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, protecting Treaty Rights (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians) and preserving traditional cultural knowledge for her Chumash community. Teresa has deep ties to her traditional homelands and resources. Teresa enjoys time at the ocean, traditional gathering and spending time with her family and community
Michael began his career with Spruce Grouse research in the Adirondacks as part of his Environmental Studies B.S. at SUNY ESF, continued with aquatic foodbase studies on the Colorado River earning his M.S. in Biology at Northern Arizona University. Then in the mid 90’s, Mike had the opportunity to work with the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Environmental Contaminants Salt Lake Field Office conducting fish and bird egg surveys and with the UC Davis Clear Lake Research Center collecting contaminated soils and groundwater from the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine Superfund Site and mercury and blue-green algal surveys on Clear Lake.
In 1998, Mike started with Big Valley Rancheria and worked with the Tribal Council to establish the Environmental Office of the Tribe and began the annual Tule Boat Festival. . During the past 25 years, Mike has worked with Tribes in the Clear Lake watershed as an Environmental Director and has participated in the annual gatherings and youth campouts hosted with the neighboring Tribes of the North Coast Mountain region. Currently, Mike as the Water Resource Manager with the Potter Valley Tribe is developing the Tribe’s clean water quality monitoring program for properties in both the Russian and Eel River watersheds and is assisting with a Forest Management Plan’s environmental review and climate change adaptation planning.
Dean Tonenna is a botanist and is involved in a variety of conservation projects which include rare plant monitoring, native seed collection, riparian and rangeland health evaluation, and vegetation classification using satellite and aerial imagery. Dean has been brought up in the traditions of his people, the Kootzaduka’a, a Native American Tribe, who live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Mono Lake and Yosemite, California. Dean integrates his ethnobotanical knowledge along with his formal training in plant biology and ecology to better steward vegetation resources within his traditional homeland. Dean has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of California, Berkeley.