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Who are the EAGLES (Environmental Advocates for Global and Ecological Sustainability)?
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have developed a Climate Change Strategic Plan and established a Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC).
The EAGLES (Environmental Advocates for Global and Local Ecological Sustainability) Youth Initiative has been created and undertaken by the CSKT Climate Change Advisory Committee. The purpose of this effort is to help empower interested tribal and other local youth to become informed, engaged citizens regarding environmental and climate change issues at the Reservation, state, regional, national and global level.
Our intention is to continue to help create, develop and support student-led groups that are actively involved with their communities, schools, tribal leaders and elders in learning about and addressing these issues. We want to help youth understand that environmental issues such as climate change are complex but basic to all life and involve multi-disciplinary scientific, cultural, historical, societal, academic, legal, and even artistic aspects.
We also want to help youth become aware of the many environmentally-related jobs and careers within the CSKT and reservation community, and beyond, to encourage their academic and career exploration, motivation and planning.
The environmental and climate change issues facing the Flathead Reservation and world at every level are a steadily growing focus of discussion, activities and educational activities and opportunities.
Traditional Knowledge (TK) regarding these issues is increasingly being recognized by climate scientists, policymakers and others as essential to identifying needed solutions. Traditional Knowledge is a people's ways of knowing that guide and result from their close relationship with and responsibilities to the land, water, plants and animals.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) considerations relate to tribal planning areas (Forestry, Water, Air, etc.) concerning climate change. TEK refers to the evolving knowledge acquired by indigenous and local peoples over hundreds or thousands of years through direct contact with the environment. This knowledge is specific to a location and includes the relationships between plants, animals, natural phenomena, landscapes and timing of events that are used for lifeways, including but not limited to hunting, fishing, trapping, agriculture, and forestry. This is the context for climate change which is being shared with EAGLES students and their schools.
The CCAC works to engage with Tribal and Regional entities to further climate change proficiency, understanding, planning, engagement and communication. Again, as part of this effort, the EAGLES group was proposed and initially established.
The EAGLES youth groups have community ties and this initiative has the objective of adopting climate change principles and preparedness into their daily decisions.
Providing a venue and group/club for youth to engage in civic minded activities, leadership opportunities, and engaging with college and professional level people around a common goal is seen as a worthwhile activity to pursue by the Tribes and all partners. Tribal and regional CCAC partners work actively on climate change related actions in relation to their specific field of work. They are looking for ways to engage younger people in these principles.
The EAGLES groups will give the Tribe, reservation communities and schools a focus to assist our youth in understanding the depth of tribal traditional knowledge and its importance to present and future environmental health.
Together, the EAGLES are becoming a core of Reservation youth engaged in environmental and climate change issues and activities with strong tribal and community support and involvement.
What are EAGLES projects?
Some of the activities that the EAGLES Youth Initiative have engaged in include:
Recycling: There has been great increase the number of schools recycling and the amount of recycling.
Mission FarmWall: Based at the St. Ignatius elementary school, this farmwall project provides students and staff with fresh, leafy greens and herbs throughout the school year. Student manage 8 ZipGrow towers in the school cafeteria.
The Mission FarmWall Project is a collaboration between St Ignatius Public Schools and FARMv2 to build a small indoor hydroponic research farm to promote STEM education and provide fresh leafy greens for students and staff. Run by students in the Advanced Biology class, the FarmWall grows lettuce, basil and other vegetables while providing students an opportunity to work hands-on with tools from the emerging world of controlled environment agriculture.
Newsletters: Regular newsletter publication to help students and community members learn more about the CSKT Climate Change Strategic Plan and other activities regarding climate change and environmental project.
Activities: In the past, students have helped develop community meetings, attended regional and national conferences, and partnered with other professional organizations to continue in their journey of learning more about careers in the field, and ongoing education about the issues of climate in the world.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Michael Durglo, Jr.
Tribal Preservation Department Head
Climate Change Advisory Committee Chairman
P.O. Box 278 Pablo, MT 59855
Phone: (406) 675-2700 ext. 1077
Fax: (406) 675-2629