Samish Indian Nation's "Our Future Climate in Samish Traditional Territory" honored by Esri Tribal Story Map contest

The Samish Indian Nation's map tracking the future impacts of climate change in the San Juan Archipelago, the tribe’s traditional territory, has been honored as one of the winners of the 2018 Esri Tribal Story Map Challenge.

This is the second year in a row that the tribe has received an honor from Esri. The 2017 winning entry, "Marine Debris Clean Up in Samish Traditional Territory" can be viewed here. 

The map was created using geographic information systems (GIS) technologies by Casey Palmer-McGee, GIS/Database Analyst and Fletcher Wilkinson, Climate Adaptation Specialist.

The map depicts the Samish Indian Nation’s Traditional Territory, provides an overview of anticipated climate change impacts on the territory and addresses how the tribe’s Department of Natural Resources is building resiliency to deal with these impacts.

“The San Juan Archipelago has been the home of the Samish people for hundreds of generations and preparing and protecting the region from the impacts of climate change is critical,” said Tom Wooten, chairman, Samish Indian Nation. “The Department of Natural Resources has done a great job examining the impacts of climate change from many different angles and is currently creating a multi-phase approach to ensure we are doing all we can to protect our environment for the next seven generations and further. The map created by Casey and Fletcher is a testament to our commitment and we are so honored to receive recognition from Esri for the second year.”

Through outreach and collaboration with other partners, Samish identified three buckets of concern for evaluation through a vulnerability assessment:

Natural Environment: 166 plant and animal species

Social Environment: Cultural resources, physical and mental health, traditional foods, etc.

Built Environment: Samish government property, public infrastructure such as water and roads

The tribe’s Department of Natural Resources is currently engaged in a multi-phase climate change adaptation planning process to identify areas of significant concern, prioritized planning areas and possible adaptation strategies. This assessment should be completed in the summer of 2018.

About the Samish Indian Nation The Samish Indian Nation is the successor to the large and powerful Samish Nation, a signatory to the Treaty of Point Elliot in 1855. Linguistically and culturally, the Tribe is grouped as Coast Salish and traditionally speaks a dialect known as “Straits Salish,” rather than Lushsootseed dialect that is common to other neighbors in the region. The Tribe’s Traditional Territory historically stretched over a wide area from the Cascade mountains to the far western shores of the San Juan Islands.


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