Cultures Under Water: Climate Impacts on Tribal Cultural Heritage CLE

December 6* -8, 2017
8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Memorial Union, Ventana Ballroom
1290 S. Normal Ave., Tempe, AZ 85287
Tempe campus

Extreme weather and climate events have increased over the past 50 years and Indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable to the adverse effects because they are often inextricably tied to their land. As a result, climate change not only threatens the landscape, but also cultural identity. Indigenous peoples have used traditional knowledge to mitigate climate disruptions and to adapt to the changing environment. However, policy discussions have failed to adequately address climate impacts on cultural heritage, and the rapid rate of climate disruptions continues to threaten indigenous cultures and communities with alarming speed. This conference will build on the discussions of climate change, adaptation, and traditional knowledge by focusing specifically on climate impacts on tribal cultural heritage.

We will bring together tribal leadership and members, scientists, scholars, attorneys and activists to discuss climate change threats and challenges faced by indigenous communities. The goal is to share knowledge and resources with tribal representatives to respond to threats to cultural heritage by addressing: Is cultural heritage a human right, and why is tribal cultural heritage important? How does climate change impact tribal cultural heritage? How can tribal communities maintain cultural heritage in the face of changing climate risks? Attendees will participate in sessions that focus on identifying obstacles and proposing solutions to these challenges.

*Note: December 6 is evening only and will feature Before The Flood by Fisher Stevens. This film features Leonardo DiCaprio with contributions by many scientists and researchers from around the world, who meet and discuss the reality of climate change in various locations on five continents as they witness climate change firsthand.

On the evening of December 7, there will be a staged reading of nationally acclaimed playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle ’s play, Fairly Traceable. This play tells the story of two young attorneys – one a citizen of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, the other a citizen of the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe in southern Louisiana – who are both fighting to save their Tribal Nations and families from climate change.  Click here to read reviews.

  • State Bar of Arizona does not approve CLE activities, however, this activity may qualify for approximately 7 credit hours, plus 1.5 credit hours for the Fairly Traceable play. Total of 8.5 credit hours.

Register at:
Questions? Contact Jennifer Williams at or 480-727-0420