Tribal Representatives Meet With Senators

On March 22nd and 23rd, more than 30 tribal leaders and representatives from across the country gathered in our nation’s capital to assert the importance of comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation, and to reaffirm that the needs and concerns of tribal nations must not be overlooked. Tribes are disproportionately bearing the brunt of climate change, and their economic, cultural, and spiritual practices are suffering. It is vital that congress work with tribal nations to find fair and equitable solutions.

For more than 20 years, the National Wildlife Federation has formed constructive partnerships with tribal communities and organizations with the common mission of protecting and preserving our treasured environment. Through these lasting partnerships, we have been able to create a forum for Tribes to share first-hand on-the-ground accounts of climate change and its impacts on their economic, natural, and cultural resources while discussing and catalyzing solutions such as renewable energy projects, energy efficiency, and carbon sequestration.

On Monday, March 22nd, participants gathered for a training session, where staff from NWF’s D.C. office shared effective lobbying methods and updates on the progress of current climate change legislation. Throughout the afternoon, tribal members shared their experiences and information on projects within their own communities. The evening concluded with dinner and a presentation by guest speaker Cristala Mussato Allen, the Executive Director of Native Workplace, an organization devoted to promoting green jobs in tribal communities, and Larry Schweiger, who spoke about the importance of tribal communities urging Congress to address climate change.

Tuesday began bright and early with a Letter-to-Editor drafting session hosted by our D.C. communications team. Leaders then spent the day meeting with the offices of their respective Senators to ensure that effective steps are being taken in Congress to address climate change, and that tribal voices are being heard. NWF also hosted a press conference to release our recently-completed report on tribal renewable energy potential.