The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) has received a multi-million-dollar grant through the Climate-Ready Workforce for Coastal and Great Lakes States, Tribes and Territories Initiative.

Wenatchee Valley College is one of nearly a dozen SBCTC affiliates included in the project. Six colleges and five Indigenous tribes will collaborate on the fledgling Tribal Stewards program.

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According to a SBCTC press release, the program aspires to "help Americans secure well-paying jobs to advance climate resilience in local communities." A heightened emphasis will be placed on "economically disadvantaged communities, people of color and Indigenous people."

Indigenous communities are of particular interest, says SBCTC director Paul Francis, because "they have a deep historical knowledge of sustainable environmental practices."

“We aim to integrate this knowledge into community and technical college workforce programs to enhance climate resilience in Tribal communities and other communities throughout Washington.”

How does WVC factor into this equation?

The school will be tasked with "training faculty to better serve Tribal students, integrating Tribal natural-resource knowledge into college workforce programs, and recruiting and supporting more Tribal students."

Long before "climate change" was part of our vernacular, Indigenous communities were the vanguard of environmental activism. Sitting Bull College in North Dakota is named after a Lakota chief who sought to preserve the natural environment, to protect it from rapacious mining interests.

As the EPA explains in this eye-opening report, Indigenous communities are uniquely vulnerable to the ravages of climate change. But no one is immune. Click here to read about climate preparedness.

Passage of Peace Teepees Honor Native Americans

The Passage of Peace is 10 illuminated teepees on Oneida Indian Nation Land to recognize the Western Tribal Nations and the challenge Native Americans face. They are on display near Exit 33 off I-90 through the New Year.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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