International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management
Roundtable on Climate, Tribal Energy Development and Habitat Protection

Date: November 24-25, 2008
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.


On November 24-28, 2008 the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management organized the Roundtable on Climate, Tribal Energy Development, and Habitat Protection. The roundtable brought together high level tribal, NGO, industry, and government leaders and experts in the many fields of energy, environment, wildlife, science and technology, law, and policy in a series of facilitated dialogues to see if and how tribes can design energy development projects that support multiple purposes and multiple uses. Similarly, roundtable participants suggested means by which tribes can use intertribal approaches to offset carbon emissions and other environmental impacts that will support multiple purposes including, among other things, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat. A final roundtable objective was to establish a framework for developing and harmonizing tribal energy and habitat protection/expansion policies and institutions.

November 24, morning, 8:30 am-Noon
Session 1: Connecting the Past with the Present and Future

Beauty, balance, order and harmony is the essence of the Navajo philosophy. Given there is no word in the Navajo language for religion or art, "hózhó" describes both and is considered the essence of the Navajo philosophy. The word embodies the idea of striving for balance and harmony together with beauty and order. The Lakota expression “Mitakuye Oyasin” means “all my relatives.” It expresses the interdependence the Lakota have with all other living creatures. The Kanaka Ma'oli of Hawaii speak of “Aloha Aina” and the Maori use “Kaitiakitanga” to encompass these interdependencies and mutual obligations.

This session will examine historical uses of lands and resources by Indian tribes to see how traditional management practices, social controls, and other means of reifying the balance between resource utilization and resource protection were developed and applied. Roundtable participants will also examine ways these earlier practices and controls inform modern project planning, design, and operation.

November 24, afternoon, 1:15pm-5:00pm
Session 2: Desiderata

For Indian tribes and other native peoples, wildlife have played many roles besides providing food and the materials for tools, clothing, and shelter. They are important elements of our identity, emblematic of the tribe or a clan and sometimes revered as its founder, ancestor, or guardian. Sometimes as gods and relatives in one, they give us strength, they warn when danger threatens, and inspire our arts.

This session will identify and examine the economic, cultural, religious, and other purposes wildlife should serve today, e.g., eco-tourism, hunting. What should be the interplay between and among landscape (habitat), wildlife, and the economic and socio-political identity and aspirations of the tribe? What role do Indian tribes want to play in the protection, management, and expansion of habitat? How can these aspirations be attained? For example, what tribal educational, legal, political and other institutions need to be created or enhanced to attain these aspirations?

November 25 , morning, 8:30am-Noon
Session 3: Harmonizing Tribal Energy Development and Habitat Protection: Best Practices in Science, Technology, Law, Public Policy, and Resource Management

Energy development can impact wildlife in a variety of ways. Animals die in collisions with vehicles; they change behavior to avoid disturbance, possibly abandoning preferred habitat. Energy development can encourage spread of noxious weeds, which displace native forage. Energy development can also destroy and fragment habitat. Towers and wind technologies can be hazardous to bats and birds. However, changes in climate will dramatically exacerbate these impacts of energy development on wildlife and habitat.

This session will identify and examine best practices in science, technology, law, public policy and resource management that accommodate both tribal energy and wildlife objectives and support adaptive approaches to the protection/expansion of wildlife habitat. Uncertainties and other impediments to the adoption of such best practices will be identified.

November 25, afternoon, 1:15pm-5:00pm
Session 4: Now What?: Implementing Best Practices

This session will outline the policy, legislative, research, education, environmental, economic, social, and cultural agenda required to implement those practices that reconcile tribal energy development and wildlife habitat protection/expansion objectives with cultural, aesthetic, and other tribal values. What collaborative efforts can be pursued immediately and in the near term?