Past Climate Change Workshops


In the beginning of 2018, the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resource (NNDNR) held a workshop with NNDNR department professionals. Many of which were field personnel rather than department managers. With the help of the Institute of Environmental Professionals (ITEP) to assist in facilitating the workshop, the NNDNR professionals were able to create a priority list addressing the natural resource issues seen on the Navajo Nation (pp. 14, Climate Adaptation Plan for the Navajo Nation). The Climate Change Program recruited several community leaders to assist in the assessment of vulnerabilities and environmental impacts within their own communities. This list was established based on the health of the Navajo Nation's natural resources which each department expressed concern for. In order to address the priority list, the NNDNR department professionals discussed adaptation strategies and potential improvements. The purpose of the NNDNR workshop was to start the developing ideas that would result in a healthier ecosystem, within the Navajo Nation, that their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren could grow up in.

In March of 2018, building off the NNDNR Professionals’ Workshop, the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife (NNDFW) hosted two of its own workshops for community leaders. The participants consisted of Navajo Nation District Grazing Officials, Farm Board Members, and Navajo Land Board members. One workshop was held in Flagstaff, Arizona, representing the western portion of the Navajo Nation. The second workshop was held in Nenahnezad, New Mexico, representing the eastern portion of the Navajo Nation. Twenty-five attendees were invited to each workshop. The two groups discussed both climate change observations within their own communities and natural resource priority concerns on the Navajo Nation.

Building off the workshops in March, a follow-up workshop was planned for August 27-29 of 2018 in Flagstaff, Arizona. Participants were introduced to the summary report which included the two top natural resource priorities established at the previous workshops. Workshop participants then combined the two priority lists. The newly unified list initiated the establishment of each natural resource concerns’ goals and adaptation strategies.

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Unfortunately, these goals and strategies were not completed due to the lack of time. Therefore, another workshop was planned for October 23-26 of 2018 in Albuquerque, New Mexico to finish framing the goals and adaptation strategies. Aside from these, participants also rated the risk and priority associated for each goal and strategy of every natural resource concern. Figure 1 displays a few key areas, which participants established amidst themselves, that will be focused on in the Climate Adaptation Plan for the Navajo Nation.


A comparison between Figure 1 and Figure 2 demonstrates that the Community Leaders whom attended the workshops generated a priority very similar to the list generated by the NNDNR professionals' team. Although verbiage when describing these issues may be different, this shows that both community members and NNDNR professionals are in sync with what natural resource issues need to be addressed.


Figure 1. Community Leaders' ranking of the most important natural resource concerns
Figure 2. NNDNR Professionals' ranking of the most important natural resource concerns

Workshop attendees generated adaptation plans for each natural resource concern from the priority list. Many of these proposed plans had been shared with other community leaders, which did not attend the workshops, at their local agency meetings which the climate change team presented at. Participants were divided into groups of four to minimize distractions during the group discussions. This “round robin” approach allowed members to voice their opinion without being overshadowed or critiqued by the rest of the attendees. The groups rotated between all the stations, presenting their concern from the priority list, in order to give their inputs on the rating process.


A summary report was drafted with information from the NNDNR workshop, as well as the latter NNDFW climate change workshops in August and October (Climate Adaptation Plan for the Navajo Nation). The report summarized the detailed planning process for each workshop. The report was drafted for the purpose to: serve as a learning tool for community leaders to host workshops in their own communities; show the comparison in natural resource priorities for both the western and eastern half of the Navajo Nation; and to show the differences in concerns, policies, and laws surrounding the Navajo People within a diverse topography.