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Jul 19, 2012 7:19 PM by Siera Santos

Climate change affecting Native communities

SUZANNE GAMBOA
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Native American and Alaska Native leaders say climate change has resulted in their villages being under water because of coastal erosion, former fishing grounds turning to dead zones, drought persisting year after year and much more because of climate change.

The leaders described the environmental changes in a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing focused on the impact of climate change on native peoples. Several West Coast tribal members and Alaska Natives are in Washington this week for a symposium on the issue.

The chief of the Yupiit Nation in Akiak, Alaska, says villages are being wiped out by coastal erosion. He says Congress needs a strategic plan to address the climate change impact on native communities. He says Congress should consider native practices in designing the plan.

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