The Cascadia landscape includes a rich cultural history of first peoples that lived on and moved through the lands for thousands of years. They carry knowledge of the landscape, the species, and changes through generations. They had their own names for places within the Cascades and many of the smaller peaks, the most well-known to non-natives being Tahoma, the Lushootseed name for Mount Rainier. The cultures were numerous and complex with overlapping territories, but in general historians say that the spine of the Cascades formed a kind of divide between the Interior and Coast Salish language groupings, and mythographically between the realm of Coyote on the east and that of the Transformers and the spirit-world of the Coast on the west.
Today individual tribes and First Nations own land in Cascadia on both sides of the border, and engage in management of many individual species and public lands that overlap territories and areas of historical importance to their people including across the international border.
British Columbia is home to 203 First Nations and approximately 30 different tribal groupings and has an estimated indigenous population of 196,000 (2006 census figure),which is about 4.6% of the total population in BC. Within Cascadia, First Nations include the Sta’at’imc, Secwepemc, Nlaka’pamux, and Okanagan with multiple individual member bands within each. Further information can be found in the First Nations BC Portal.
In Washington, there are twenty-nine federally recognized tribes. Tribal reservations and usual and accustomed areas are throughout the Cascadia region. Tribes with reservations or engagement in Cascadia include the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Nation, Nisqually, Puyallup, Muckelshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Tulalip, Stillaguamish, Sauk-Suiattle, Swinomish, Upper Skagit, Sammish, Lummi, and Nooksack. The Colville Confederated Tribes usual and accustomed area touches on the eastern boundaries of Cascadia along the Okanogan River.
- “Tribes are reacting to climate change”, 2011 Guest Commentary in the Everett Herald by Billy Frank Jr., chairman at the time of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
- Booklet, Northwest Tribes Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change
- Tribal Climate Change Project. A collaborative project between the University of Oregon and the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station.
- Swinomish Climate Change Initiative Climate Adaptation Action Plan (2010).
- Sauk-Suiattle Tribe plans for climate change (2012, NW Indian Fisheries Commission article)
- North Pacific LCC Map – Tribes and First Nations within the NPLCC landscape
- US Forest Service Tribal Connections Interactive Mapper to explore overlap of national forest lands with current tribal trust lands and lands tribes exchanged with the federal government prior to 1900. This reference tool is aimed to help increase understanding of historical treaties and the role they play in making current land management decisions.
- Guidelines for considering Traditional Knowledges in climate change initiatives (including link to provide comment on these guidelines)