Indigenous Resilience Center

Relationship • Respect
Reciprocity • Responsibility

Vision: We see a world in which Indigenous communities are thriving and adaptable to meet environmental and societal challenges.

The Indigenous Resilience Center (IRes) is supported by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice. IRes is part of the Arizona Institute for Resilience and aims to position the University of Arizona as a world leader in Indigenous resilience research, education, and outreach. Dr. Karletta Chief (Diné), Director of the Indigenous Resilience Center, explains, “The Indigenous Resilience Center is the University of Arizona’s commitment to giving back to local tribes who have stewarded this land for millennia. Tribes have endured and sacrificed so much in terms of land loss and social and environmental impacts, much at the hand of the United States. Universities have benefited from this through their physical infrastructure and have a responsibility to be a bridge — to ethically address the challenges those communities face in ways that build trust and transparency.”

Man in casual clothes kneeling next to a plant in the desert

Community Building

The IRes faculty and staff will partner with tribes to collaboratively identify community-driven resilience goals and priorities (focusing on capacity to implement strategies and actions that reduce climate change impacts in a respectful and culturally sensitive way while addressing underlying social, economic stresses and environmental risks).

Man Water Tank


The IRes will focus its research on resilience in Indigenous communities. This includes sustainable solutions, renewable technologies, solar energy, water treatment, traditional agriculture, controlled environment agriculture, horticulture and small-scale farming, food sovereignty, regenerative agriculture, drought resilience, Native plant restoration, ecological restoration, and more.

Dr. Karletta Chief talking to students in a classroom


IRes faculty will teach and promote STEM courses that are specifically tailored towards resilience, Indigenous knowledges, community-driven tribal research, tribal consultation, research ethics, natural resources management, traditional agriculture, Indigenous data sovereignty, tribal environmental health, STEM education, among others.


The University of Arizona and Sixth World Solutions collaborated on piloting off grid water filtration systems on the Navajo Nation. They are bridging science with communities’ priorities to address how to get clean water now. For those living off grid, the nano filtration system removes contaminants in the water and is an alternative to water hauling. There are currently four nano filtration systems that are being piloted on Navajo Nation. The goal of this project is to take knowledge back into their communities to address food, energy, and water security. Collaborators on this project share their work including (in order of appearance), Dr. Andrew Curley, Janene Yazzie, Kern Collymore, Dr. Vicky Karanikola, Dr. Karletta Chief, Dr. Tommy Rock, Dr. Bob Arnold, Parvannah Lee, Ryannen Ahasteen, Nikki Tulley, Wilda Salt, and Eugenia Newton Charles.

Native FEWSS Alliance Annual Gathering

In March 2023, the Native FEWS Alliance held their Annual Gathering in Tucson, Arizona at the University of Arizona. This highlight video shares stories of the Alliance, mentorship, and Indigenous Resilience at the heart of Food, Energy and Water. Videography by Gray Warrior Grayfilerphotography The 2023 Annual Gathering was hosted by the Indigenous Resilience Center (IRes) at the University of Arizona. The Native FEWS Alliance (NFA) aims to significantly broaden the participation of Native American students in Food, Energy, and Water Systems (FEWS) education and careers to address critical challenges facing their communities. For more information about the Native FEWS Alliance visit: https://nativefewsalliance.org/


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Land Acknowledgement

We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples. Today, Arizona is home to 22 federally-recognized tribes, with Tucson being home to the O’odham and the Yaqui. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the University strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service.