Our Changing Lands

Climate change is affecting the land, plans, animals, and people of the Upper Snake River. The Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation (USRT) and its four member tribes are not just witnessing these changes, but being affected. For the tribes, natural resources are cultural resources and critical to their lifeways, livelihoods, health, and wellness.

With the support of USRT, the tribes have been working to better understand the potential impacts of climate change on their reservations and the surrounding watersheds and developing actions to make their communities more resilient. The Tribes know that by acting now and getting the youth involved they can be better prepared for climate change and the future.

These four videos were completed as part of an Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation climate change adaptation planning project and generously funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Protecting the Land for Future Generations
Shoshone-Paiute Tribes

The Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation have seen significant changes due to changing climate conditions. Climate Change has affected the natural and cultural resources that are an important part of the tribe’s history and culture.

The Tribe is taking action to enhance their resilience. It is relocating beaver populations to higher elevations where they can live and thrive and bring multiple benefits to both people and wildlife. Involving youth in the process helps enhance their understanding of how climate change is affecting the environment and what the tribe is doing to respond to those changes.

Honoring the Outdoors
Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribes

A glimpse into how climate change is affecting the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Tribes in southern Idaho and what they are doing to respond to those changes.

This video highlights some of the key challenges facing the community and how they are working to engage the youth in the process of building climate resilience.

Climate Resilience
Burns Paiute Tribe

Climate change is already affecting the plants, animals, and water that are critical to the Burns Paiute Tribe. In order to protect their community and their way of life, more community members need to be involved in thinking about and taking action to respond to climate change.
Youth are key players in climate resilience projects, in the hopes that they see themselves as part of the solution and continue to steward the Tribe’s land and culture. Strengthen connections between elders and youth is a key part of the solution. Pilot projects, such as the release of Chinook salmon into the Upper Malheur River provide opportunities for the youth to re-engage in the cultural traditions of the Tribe.
Without natural resources, the tribe doesn’t have cultural resources. Caring for these two things enhances community wellness and is a critical step in responding to the climate crisis and enhancing climate resilience.

Climate Resilience and Water Management
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes

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Without water there is no life.

For the Shoshone Bannock Tribes, climate change threatens their natural resources, homelands, ceremonial sites, and traditional cultural practices. The Upper Snake River (Our People’s River) and the critical water resources that it provides for human and natural resources are at risk due to current farming practices and changing climate conditions.

To address these challenges, the Tribes is monitoring water usage and working with regional partners to identify commonalities and set shared goals for water management. Looking to the future, the Tribes is looking to preserve their water resources that will help ensure the availability of important traditional plants and animals of the region.

As humans, we can not take a pass on climate change and expect future generations to fix the problems. The Tribes is committed to taking action to address the challenges of a changing climate and invest in the policies, adaptive management, and education needed to ensure these resources are available for future generations.

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Ethics and the Columbia River Treaty Conference – Boise, Idaho March 14, 2016

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Dammen Baa – Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Action on Climate Change

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Burns Paiute Tribe 2016 Fish Release

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Staging Chinook Salmon

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Spawning Chinook Salmon

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Historic Salmon Release on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation

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Of People and Salmon:
Linking Culture and Ecology

This film is about salmon, indigenous peoples, and the many connections between land and water that serve to promote healthy ecological and cultural identities in salmon country. Our story highlights Chinook salmon in Central Idaho, USA spawning and rearing habitat above 8 federal hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers (1,300 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean), sockeye salmon and adfluvial rainbow trout from British Columbia, CAN, as well as a cast of characters that depend upon healthy anadromous fish populations and associated habitat for their well-being.

River of Return

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River was named the “River of No Return” by white settlers, who piloted wooden scows down the river and used the lumber from the boats to build homesteads, never to return to so-called civilization. But for the people of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, the Middle Fork is a place to come back to, after too long an absence, to reconnect with Mother Earth, their culture and themselves. Join Jessica and Sammy as they guide a journey with their Newe people to be whole again in River of Return.

Idaho Conservation League


How the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are bringing Sockeye Salmon back to Pettit Lake