Strengthening Resilience of Ojibwe Nations Across Generations (STRONG)
Lead PI:
Kimberly Marion Suiseeya

Climate change exacerbates existing threats to the livelihoods and well-being of many Native American nations across the United States. Additionally, the effects of invasive species, mining, and development have been increasing on critical ecosystems that provide food, water, and cultural security for Indigenous Peoples. Working with tribal partners, this Smart and Connected Communities Integrative Research Grant (SCC-IRG) seeks to understand how enhanced data access, availability, and usability can strengthen community resilience. The project converges social science, data science, environmental science, and computer engineering through a traditional knowledge framework to identify key links between resilience and sovereignty of Indigenous communities. Deployment of cyberinfrastructure with advanced sensing technologies helps demonstrate how multi-model socio-ecological data can be combined into actionable resilience frameworks. As the result, new pathways of climate adaptation are created for culturally significant plants and animals, as well as guiding development plans to minimize adverse impacts.

This tribally driven project adopts a traditional knowledge framework to synthesize traditional and scientific knowledge to advance innovations in resilience research in three areas: 1) Environmental Science: the project deploys state-of-the-art Wild Sage edge-enabled sensing platforms and tiny battery-free energy-harvesting sensors to continuously measure water and ecosystems conditions, and to assess the effects of climate change, mining contaminants, and oil/gas pipeline failures on manoomin (wild rice) and associated wetland ecosystems; 2) Governance: the project assesses the effects of how scientific knowledge generated through a traditional knowledge framework impacts tribal planning and governance by co-producing and evaluating culturally appropriate resilience indicators for anticipating, responding to, and mitigating acute and chronic socio-ecological perturbations; and 3) Community Impact: the project co-develops and deploys Noondawind, a dynamic, integrated cyberinfrastructure platform that connects diverse end-users with STRONG data and analyses to examine how access to data strengthens tribal sovereignty and resilience. By making research products more responsive to community-identified needs and enhancing accessibility of cyberinfrastructure for diverse end-users, this project aims to demonstrate how data can play a central role in building governance capacity and strengthening intertribal coordination on common environmental, economic, political, and social well-being priorities.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Kimberly Marion Suiseeya
Kimberly Marion Suiseeya is an environmental social scientist with expertise in environmental justice, global environmental politics, Indigenous politics, and community-driven research. Her research examines how Indigenous communities shape and are impacted by multilateral environmental agreements like the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. She is a Commission Member of the IUCN’s Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy, a Research Fellow with the Earth System Governance project, and a member of the Earth System Governance project’s Planetary Justice Taskforce. Dr. Marion Suiseeya is also an experienced policy practitioner who has worked and conducted research in Guyana, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and the US. Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Performance Period: 08/01/2023 - 07/31/2026
Institution: Northwestern University
Award Number: 2233912