Tribes in northwest Montana have pledged to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement, despite President Donald Trump backing out last year. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes signed onto the We Are Still In campaign last week.
We Are Still In bills itself as a network of companies, cities, states, tribes and universities committed to tackling climate change, ensuring a clean energy future, and upholding the Paris Accord, an agreement among world nations to limit the rise of the global average temperature to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
"We take this responsibility very seriously," says Shelly Fyant, a Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes council member.
She says they have been feeling the effects of a warming climate for years.
"We see our glaciers melting at an accelerated rate. We see those impacts in our forests, in our fisheries. We see it in our first foods. Our first foods are coming earlier in the season and for shorter periods of time."
The Flathead Tribes adopted a Climate Change Strategic Plan in 2013 that uses elders’ experience and Traditional Ecological Knowledge to outline goals and actions for nine sectors impacted by climate change.
The CSKT join seven other tribal nations and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, or ATNI, in signing onto the We Are Still In campaign. Three other Montana tribes, the Blackfeet Nation, the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy Reservation and the Crow Tribe, are all members of ATNI. Seven companies in Montana have also joined We Are Still In.
The cities of Bozeman, Whitefish, Helena and Missoula also pledged to uphold the Paris Climate Accord last year.
While Montana’s Democratic Governor Steve Bullock has called Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, "short sighted and dangerous," he has not joined other governors pledging to uphold it. Bullock released an Energy Blueprint for the state in 2016.