In October of 2007 the Swinomish Indian Senate issued a Proclamation directing action to respond to climate change challenges. The Proclamation acknowledged the potential for issues and impacts in the vicinity of the Swinomish Indian Reservation and directs tribal departments and staff to undertake efforts and studies for promoting long-term proactive action.
The Swinomish have endured many challenges over their long history, including impacts from western migration and settlement, diseases, loss of lands, resource disputes, and economic hardship, but perhaps one of the most enduring challenges yet to be faced is that of climate change. Scientific evidence of climate change is increasingly abundant and convincing; warmer global temperatures, melting glaciers, reduced mountain snow pack, rising sea levels, declining river flows, and other factors all point to significant long-term changes.
For local communities, these changes may mean a variety of potential impacts of equal significance that are likely to continue into the foreseeable future, including impacts on low-lying areas, transportation routes and vital infrastructure, energy and water resources, natural resources and habitat, and human and environmental health. It will also likely be beyond the capability of any one local community to respond completely and adequately to many of these changes and impacts. In recognition of this, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community has launched an initiative to assess the potential impacts of climate change on the community of the Swinomish Indian Reservation and to identify appropriate responses and actions.
This will be the start of a comprehensive and long-term effort undertaken in several phases over many years to address climate change issues, starting with a two-year project to identify probable impacts and develop an action plan. The Tribe has partnered with regional experts on climate change science and has invited neighboring jurisdictions to participate in this effort. The ultimate goal is to provide for a healthy and resilient community that can meet the continuing challenges of climate change.