Chilkat Indian Village Resilience Plan

“Compounding the impacts to our cultural resources are the impacts from climate change.  During the past few years, our natural resources within the Chilkat Valley have been diminished due to plants being burned from the sun as well as lack of rain in the valley, which left us fewer gathering options for berries, medicine, and various subsistence plants.”

-Tribal Member, Resilience Planning Process, 2019-2022

“Chilkat River flooding and erosion is removing a large section of the riverbank next to the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center campus and threatens the existence of this campus and its buildings.”

-Tribal Member, Resilience Planning Process, 2019-2022


The Chilkat Indian Village Environmental Department completed a resilience plan for the village of Tlákw Aan (Klukwan) in 2023.  The resilience plan is focused on climate change impacts to critical infrastructure in Tlákw Aan and to plants and animals that are of cultural importance to the Chilkat Indian Village (CIV) and its Tribal Members.  It is organized into two parts: 1) the Resilience Planning Process and 2) possible next steps to address climate vulnerabilities.  Several knowledge systems were drawn upon in the planning and drafting process, including Traditional Ecological Knowledge, the Lingít (Tlingit) way of knowing, and western science.  

Approximately 22 miles upriver from Haines, and situated between maritime and subarctic interior geographic zones, Tlákw Aan is experiencing a host of climate and environmental changes.  For instance, residents of Tlákw Aan have observed warmer temperatures, shorter winters, less winter snow, earlier summer snowmelt, more flooding events, more frequent and extreme precipitation, and lower river level extremes.  These changes profoundly impact timing and access to traditionally harvested resources and increase risks to critical infrastructure.  To prioritize actions steps, CIV conducted vulnerability assessments on critical infrastructure, including drinking water systems, housing, and the riverbank.  Additional vulnerability assessments were conducted on culturally significant plant and animal species, including Chilkat River Sockeye, mountain goats, Hooligan, and Chilkat Chinook.  Specific vulnerabilities were based on adaptive capacity and sensitivity.

Moving forward:

In addressing the most vulnerable infrastructure and plants and animals, CIV identified the following action steps:

  1. Support food security and sovereignty projects, programs and partnerships
  2. Monitor watershed characteristics and the health of the plants and animals and their habitats
  3. Address climate impacts to the most vulnerable infrastructure (i.e. Housing, Riverbank, and Water Treatment Plant)
  4. Improve understanding of geohazards and the risk they pose
  5. Seek funding for energy efficiencies and continue to assess renewable energy options
  6. Update emergency preparedness and response to address climate vulnerabilities

For more details…

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