US to Pay $75 Million to Native American Tribes Endangered by Climate Change

Native Americans
Boardwalks have been erected in the Yup'ik village of Newtok, Alaska, because rising water is threatening homes.Getty

The funds will be divided among three Native American tribes so residents can flee to higher ground because of extreme weather and rising waters.

The government will pay $75 million to Native American tribes so residents can retreat to higher ground after severe climate change now endangers their land and livelihoods.

The funds will be divided between three tribes in Washington and Alaska, and represents one of the biggest efforts to relocate towns urgently threatened by global warning.

President Joe Biden recently announced that $25 million will each be given to The Newtok Village and the Native Village of Napakiak in Alaska, and the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington.

The areas have already been devastated by extreme weather and erosion caused by climate change, with many homes abandoned as residents went searching for higher elevations.

“It gave me goose bumps when I found out we got that money,” Joseph John Jr., a council member in Newtok, which is located in southwest Alaska, told The New York Times.  “It will mean a lot to us.”

The Department of Interior said these three communities will be the litmus test for developing guidelines for relocating populations imperiled by climate change. 

"We must safeguard Indian Country from the intensifying and unique impacts of climate change,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “Helping these communities move to safety on their homelands is one of the most important climate-related investments we could make."

President Biden, who announced the funding last week at a national meeting of Native American leaders, said, “There are tribal communities at risk of being washed away." The $75 million will help tribes “move, in some cases, their entire communities back to safer ground.”

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