UArizona Indigenous Resilience Center Receives $2M Grant to Support Tribal Climate Solutions

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The University of Arizona Indigenous Resilience Center (IRes) has received a $2 million grant from the nonprofit Waverley Street Foundation to initiate a program to support tribal communities in devising local solutions to climate problems.

The two-year initiative “Climate Resilience Through Indigenous Co-Design at the Food, Energy and Water Nexus” will uphold and grow the center’s programs, fund recruitment of new Indigenous scholars and staff, and enhance engagement with Native nations.

Established in 2021, IRes collaborates with Native nations to tackle environmental issues while honoring Native and Indigenous sovereignty and wisdom. The center prioritizes the “four R’s” — relationships, respect, responsibility, and reciprocity — to establish trust and effectively address challenges.

The new grant will enable the center to recruit outreach and tribal engagement specialists, administrative and program support staff, students focused on tribal resilience, and grant experts to aid both IRes and its tribal partners in obtaining further funding.

In addition, the funding will enhance the center’s efforts in addressing food, energy, and water security through solar-powered projects for Diné communities, educational programs for Native American students, agriculture and seed sovereignty initiatives, and geospatial technology to analyze environmental health links.

“The Indigenous Resilience Center is a seed that is being watered, a plant that is growing, needed and desired by tribal communities,” said Karletta Chief, the project’s principal investigator and director of the center, in a statement. “As we grow, I envision us to grow into a center that is connected to and invested in tribal communities, that we become a bridge between the University of Arizona and tribal communities while collaborating with existing Indigenous centers on campus and other tribal programs to be part of the big wheel that is working to support tribal communities.”