Ethical collaboration and the need for training: Partnerships between Native American Tribes and climate science organisations

Main Article Content

Caitlin K Kirby
Citralina Haruo
Kyle P Whyte
Julie C Libarkin
Chris Caldwell
Rebecca Edler


Indigenous peoples develop and utilise climate science resources to address climate change impacts, and climate scientists often collaborate on such projects. Little is known about whether climate science organisations (CSOs) adequately train their staff to work ethically with Indigenous peoples, promoting benefits for Tribes while reducing harms. To research this training, we conducted interviews with CSO employees (n=9) and Native American Tribal citizens (n=7). Thematic content analysis revealed that many challenges, benefits and common goals exist for both groups. Tribes were more likely to discuss challenges, focusing on trust and capacity building. CSOs were more likely to discuss benefits, focusing on information exchange. Both CSOs and Tribes provide training activities for CSO employees, but training programs are not mandated or consistent across employees and organisations, and they are typically not evaluated. Our research indicates a need for co-created and evaluated training programs which take into account the challenges faced in cross-cultural partnerships.

climate change, Indigenous peoples, community engagement, tribally driven participatory research, ethics, STEM education

Article Details

Research articles (Refereed)
Author Biographies

Caitlin K Kirby, Michigan State University

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Kyle P Whyte, Michigan State University

Department of Philosophy

Julie C Libarkin, Michigan State University

Earth and Environmental Sciences