Background: Our group consists of Amanda (Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering and Energy Business and Finance), Brandon (Geography and Meteorology), Lydia (Energy Business and Finance), and Sonia (Geography and Women’s Studies). We came together as a group with the common goal of understanding the socioeconomic issues and deliberating the solutions for indigenous communities in proximity to our research locations in both Juneau, Alaska and Ocongate, Peru. In Peru, we took an “eco-tour” (a guided excursion with the purpose of highlighting the economic, social, and environmental customs) of the Andean Quechua community of Cuyuni. In Alaska, though we did not meet people from the tribe, we were in the domain allocated to the Pacific Northwest Tlingit.
Nature of the Situation: Our poster project originally started as wanting to specifically center our research question around climate change and the subsequent degradation of ecosystem services. However, after consulting our professors, class, and amongst our group, we soon discovered that our efforts would be better utilized analyzing community resilience. For the purpose of our project, resilience can be defined as the ability of a community to respond to a catastrophic event and to develop a sustainability strategy to offset the impact of events of a similar consistency in the future.
Question: Our preliminary legwork brought us to settle on the research question: How have the Andean Quechua and the Pacific Northwest Tlingit dealt with socio-economic challenges since the year 2000?
Importance: While many organizations with the objective of assessing community resilience are focused on urban areas in highly developed countries, our research is critical in that we are gauging resilience of indigenous communities. In our lifetime, the majority of the world’s population will be living in cities; however, these small communities are representations of thousands of years of localized ways of life. Both the Andean Quechua and Pacific Northwest Tlingit are indigenous peoples whose rich histories demonstrate the importance of culture within their respective countries.