Thanks to our friends at Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), Travois participated in the Resilience Academy in Atlanta earlier this month. The academy was a pre-OFN Conference workshop that gathered practitioners, community leaders and government officials to discuss climate change and the impacted communities CDFIs serve. OFN partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation, the CDFI Fund, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make this happen.
Travois participated as a “case lead.” In this role, we were able to share the stories of Native communities adapting to a changing climate. We focused specifically on the issue of sea-level rise — a climate change symptom impacting coastal tribes in many parts of the United States. With members of the CDFI Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, academic professionals and other participants, we talked through an assessment of Native community resilience to sea level rise. We then shared ideas about funding strategies, development models and paths forward for communities that need to move entire neighborhoods out of harm’s way.
Native communities have already been leaders in using innovative models to address natural disasters. National attention was focused last year on Isle de Jean Charles and its efforts to establish a new community out of the reach of the sea. Alaska Native people — specifically in the Native Village of Shishmaref — confront this reality on a daily basis. The Quinault Indian Nation is planning an ambitious project to address the issue that is getting high-level attention.
In addition to the Resilience Academy, Travois participated in the Sustainable Investment Forum during Climate Week NYC 2016. We will be at the Sustainable Innovation Forum in Morocco later this month.
Our motto has always been: you know where you want to go, let us pull some of the weight for you. Indian Country is making adaptation and mitigation of climate change a priority. We are ready to bring to the table the financial tools required to make innovative projects a reality.