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Climate Change Effects Leading Topic at AZ Tribal Legislative Day

Melissa Begay, far left, and the Arizona Community Foundation group at the 2023 AZ Tribal Legislative Day in Phoenix, Arizona.

According to Arizona's historical record, the impact of climate change resulted in temperatures rising about 2.5 degrees since the 1900s and a 20-year drought. San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler emphasized the critical issue of water shortage and how Arizona's drought impacts surface and groundwater. His address about climate change effects at the 28th Annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day on January 11, 2023, was among several issues brought to the attention of Arizona's legislature.

"Tribal and State government leaders bring value to shared ecological knowledge and solutions. Climate change does not recognize political boundaries, and conversations about its effects undergird our survival," states NPM Operations Director Melissa Begay.

Begay attended Legislative Day to share information about how Tribes can adopt the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) into tribal emergency management programs. Arizona is home to 22 tribes, all diverse in history, culture, language, land base, and governance. Of the 574 federally recognized Tribes in the United States, only nine Tribal governments are IPAWS Alerting Authorities. The Cocopah Indian Tribe, Navajo Nation, and Hualapai Tribe are the first FEMA alerting authorities in Arizona with the capacity to issue early warning alerts over multiple platforms at once.

"Emergency preparedness and communications are crucial to the survival and sustainability of Tribal Nations. IPAWS provides rapid, authenticated, and geo-targeted dissemination of safety messages to the public over radio, television, and mobile phones. Native Public Media has a strong network of 60 Tribal radio and television stations across Indian Country ready to partner with Tribes in ensuring the safety and security of Tribal citizens and their homelands," concludes Begay.


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