Newswise — Near the Lower Colorado River, home to the Cocopah people for many centuries, an unprecedented gathering is underway. The Cocopah Indian Tribe and National Wildlife Federation have partnered to co-host the first-ever Tribal Lands Climate Conference—bringing together leaders from more than 50 tribes to address the growing global warming crisis.

"The Tribal Lands Climate Conference is an opportunity to unite tribal leaders from across the country with key decision makers in an open forum to discuss actions proactively addressing climate change," said Liz Pratt, Public Relations representative for the Cocopah Indian Tribe. "The issues and challenges caused by climate change being discussed during the Conference currently affect, and will continue to affect, all tribes on a global scale. This forum brings tribes together to address the issues and challenges, in efforts to one day find solutions."

"Native Americans can provide key inspiration regarding global warming and its impact on our world, unite broad stakeholder support, and demonstrate actions that alleviate global warming impacts," said Garrit Voggesser, manager of the National Wildlife Federation's Tribal Lands Conservation Program.

Native Americans are critical eyewitnesses to global warming. Among the first to experience the devastating impacts of a changing climate, Indigenous people are uniquely able to compare what's happening today with experiences spanning generations of understanding natural cycles and resources.

The National Wildlife Federation is reaching out to those best able to tell the stories and first-hand, on-the-ground accounts about the impacts to fish, wildlife and natural resources fueled by manmade carbon emissions and global warming. The conference gathers representatives from more than 50 tribes throughout the Southwest, Northwest, Midwest, and Alaska " and political leaders, climate scientists, and NGOs " to exchange strategies and solutions to address global warming.

Global warming is a matter of environmental justice. As such, the Tribal Lands Climate Conference is engaging and empowering tribal advocates on global warming " connecting them with key decision-makers. With thousands of years of traditional knowledge and connections to the environment, Native Americans can play a significant role in shaping how America addresses and generates active responses to combat global warming.

The National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.