The White House is set to give a combined $75 million in aid to three Native American tribes to help them relocate to higher ground, as the coastal communities confront a host of worsening climate-related threats to their critical infrastructure.
The Newtok Village and Native Village of Napakiak in Alaska, and the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington state, will receive $25 million apiece to begin moving inland.
Research published in the journal Science has found that tribal nations have lost 99% of their historic territory due to oppression and disenfranchisement, and the land they have left is typically more vulnerable to climate-related disasters.
The federal government is now endeavoring to relocate entire Native communities. A 2020 study from the Bureau of Indian Affairs estimated that it will cost some $5 billion over 50 years to address tribal relocation needs due to climate change.
The Biden Administration announced the funding during this year’s White House Tribal Nations Summit. Tribes in Alaska are especially at risk of infrastructure damage because of invading waters, coastal erosion and extreme weather events, according to the Department of the Interior.