Future Climate Plan by 10000 Year Old Tribe

By Ananya Rajeshkumar


Carving of a legend linking Natives and sea

The Washington Post

 The Swinomish tribe lives in the northwestern part of Washington, relying mainly on varieties of fish as their food source and culture. After a storm negatively affected them in August of 2006, they have come up with a strategy to deal with the issues of a warming planet. This tribe, along with many others, have their own culture which is very different from what the world follows. The question is: What did they do in response to climate change?


The tribe relies on the bounty of salmon and shellfish as a staple of their diet. At the beginning of every season, the Swinomish starts to gather on the beach for what they call a, “First Salmon Ceremony,” which is a feast that honors the return of the migratory fish that binds the generations of a tribe. This tribe is formally known as the People of the Salmon. According to the Washington Post, “At the ceremony’s conclusion, single salmon are ferried by boat in four directions — north to Padilla Bay, east to the Skagit River, south to Skagit Bay and west to Deception Pass — and eased into the water with a prayer that they will tell other salmon how well they were treated.” This native tribe has been doing this for generations. 


Unfortunately, in recent years, this tribe has faced natural calamities upon its harvest. Their harvest has diminished, as it has vanished habitat and warming waters. Being fueled by climate change, it has not been sufficient enough to feed everyone. Lorraine Loomis, the manager of the tribal fishery says, “We don't have that abundance anymore.” For the Swinomish tribe especially, climate change has affected them the most. 


The tribe responded to this with a strategy to battle climate change, as well as an attempt to improve the health of their land, water, plants, and any living thing surrounding them. In 2010, this tribe became the first to ultimately respond to the underlying problems and effects of climate change. The Washington Post stated, “An additional 50 Native American tribes have followed, creating climate strategies to protect their lands and cultures, ahead of most U.S. communities.” This method is now used by other tribes, ultimately helping them. Meaning they look at the endangered, “first foods,” and the tribe abstains from consuming these resources. 


       This method of climate change mitigation focuses on the different relief and cultural representation of these tribes, but it is dependent on the different ways that this specific tribe preserves their foods, in response to this climate change that affects them. This food-preserving method of climate change has brought change to the tribe, which also respects their values, beliefs, practices, and their culture. This ten thousand year old tribe managed to find a way to teach the world about their traditions, while also limiting the effects of climate change.