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For Indigenous peoples in the Great Lakes region (including federally-recognized Tribes), water is a fundamental element of spiritual, cultural, economic and political significance. Tribal governments, Indigenous organizations and individual Indigenous families are active in the protection of water quality. Freshwater ecosystems, and the fish species which live within them, play a role in the physical sustenance of Indigenous populations, both as a food source and as an important source of economic stability. Water is also a key component of the governance of federally-recognized Tribes, or Tribal governance, which denotes the idea of a Tribe’s organizational capacity to exercise self-determination over, and protection of, the spiritual, cultural, economic and political dimensions of Indigenous ways of life.
This Project Site contains information gathered in support of a collaborative effort between the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and a number of Indigenous Tribes within the Great Lakes region, to include consideration of the impact of climate change on lake levels in management plans for Great Lakes tribal fisheries. In order to protect the sovereignty of these Indigenous Tribal Nations and data collected by their natural resource departments, only publicly available data will be referenced on this site.