Six groups and institutions will receive a total of about $5 million to study the health effects of climate change on tribes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on July 23.
Grants for studying air quality will go to the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Tulsa will work to improve indoor air quality and reduce environmental factors that trigger asthma in tribal homes and schools, the EPA said in a release. UMass will to measure indoor air quality in tents to assess wood smoke exposures and identify potential health risks in remote communities, the EPA said.
In Alaska the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage study threats to food sustainability in remote Native villages; the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community of La Conner, Washington will examine coastal climate impacts to traditional foods, cultural sites, and tribal community health and well-being. In California the Yurok tribe will also address food security and tribal health, but in the context of surveying aquatic resources and the impact that climate change has on those. This is especially relevant as the tribe struggles to maintain its water supply that is pressured both by the ongoing drought and the presence of illegal marijuana farms that saps its stores.
The Crow Reservation will benefit from research into climate change adaptation and the prevention of waterborne diseases that will be done with a grant to Little Big Horn College, Crow Agency, Montana.
The University of Tulsa will study air quality from various environments, and their interplay, to gauge the effect on children, the school said in a release.
The project will analyze air samples from the Cherokee Nation, the Nez Perce Reservation and areas around it in west-central Idaho, as well as the Navajo Nation in the Shiprock, New Mexico region. The information will help researchers study the health impacts of climate change and indoor air pollution on tribal communities, the university said.
“We’re trying to develop a deeper understanding of the interactions in and between school and home environments pertaining to the health of children,” said Richard Shaughnessy, founder and director of research for the university’s Indoor Air Program. “Attention to both settings will help us draft a more complete profile of the air quality tribal children are exposed to throughout the day.”