The U.S. Senate’s Indian Affairs Committee, chaired by Dan Akaka, is holding a hearing right now focused on the impacts of climate change on native peoples who depend on the land for their survival and traditions.
“While environmental changes are widespread, studies indicate that Native communities are disproportionately impacted because they depend on nature for traditional foods, sacred sites, and to practice ceremonies that pass on cultural values to future generations,” Akaka said in prepared opening remarks provided by his office.
Among the witnesses is Malia Akutagawa, a Native Hawaiian lawyer and president Sust`āinable Molokai. She writes in testimony:
On Molokai, we are witnessing the exposure of iwi kupuna (ancestral burials) along eroded shorelines. As sea level continues to rise and beaches erode further, we will need to respectfully relocate iwi kupuna to higher ground.
You can watch a stream of the hearing here.
— Michael Levine