Southwest Adaptation Forum 2024 and the IRes Resilience Awards

April 1, 2024
AISES Team Photo

The Southwest Adaptation Forum (SWAF) is the biennial gathering of practitioners, professionals, research, and community members who are working to accelerate effective climate adaptation and reduce the impacts of climates change in communities and landscapes across the Southwest.
The Southwest Adaptation Forum occurred on February 27th through the 29th, 2024 in Tucson, Arizona. This conference offered a variety of peer-to-peer learning, breakout discussions, short presentations, panel discussions, field trips, and networking opportunities.
In conjunction with the Southwest Adaptation Forum, The Indigenous Resilience Center honored four individuals at the Indigenous Resilience Awards. These four individuals are Amy Juan, Clifford Pablo, Ray Martinez, and Dr. Selso Villegas, all who exemplifgreat service to their communities.
The Honorees;
Amy Juan is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation belonging to the communities of Comobabi, Ali Cukson, and Wecij Oidag. Juan, has worked closely with traditional medicine and food in various programs including climate change adaptation.

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Juan, commended for her work at San Xavier Co-op Farm is grateful for the support she has received,
“Community recognition to me means a lot because our community is who keeps us accountable, and can’t run away, I have to continue this work and continue to be responsible for what I’ve been entrusted with, and it means a lot.” Juan said.
Juan, was honored to be receiving the resilience award alongside Clifford Pablo and Dr. Selso Villegas who inspired her work at the San Xavier Co-op Farm.

Clifford Pablo is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation from the community of Wa:k. Pablo has been working with the Tohono O’odham Community College Agriculture program to teach and learn about agriculture and the environment. Pablo has been working to preserve his culture, environment, and precious water resources while adapting to the changing world around him.

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Pablo, was nominated because of his commitment to his students and carrying on a knowledge that has been passed down to him. We have had the fortune of listening to Pablo’s story and hearing him mention that his greatest crop has been his students and passing all he knows to them,

“Receiving this award acknowledges what I've been working at all these years since my beginnings with my Wosk (grandfather) in my home village of Wa:k (San Xavier). So many gardens, farms, land, and water projects with so many interested, knowledgeable people along the way. Been trying to preserve our culture, crops, environment, and precious water resources and expand our abilities to cope with a changing world,” Pablo said.

Ray Martinez is a member of the Pueblo de San Ildefonso. Martinez has worked with the Department of Environment and Cultural Preservation for the past 20+ years. Martinez is prioritizing continuous monitoring of the Chromium Plume and providing accurate and frequent communication to Pueblo residents and Tribal Council.

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Martinez, has been working effortlessly to learn more and build his and his Pueblo’s capacity for climate adaptation. Martinez, made tremendous strides in the completion of San Ildefonso’s Climate Adaptation Plan, and he is working diligently towards implementation.
“I accept this on behalf of my community, my staff. They’re the ones that put this together. You know, it’s not an individual, myself, that’s doing these things, this is the whole community,” Martinez said.

Dr. Selso Villegas is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Dr. Villegas graduated from the University of Arizona with a Master’s in Wildlife and Fisheries Science, and his PhD dissertation was on environmental contaminants. Dr. Villegas has spent the last 25 years working in executive positions in Natural and Water Resource Management for his tribe.

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Dr. Villegas’s lifelong commitment to tribal climate adaptation, water security, integration of traditional knowledge, training of Native American youth, climate advocacy and being a voice to center Mother Earth in our conversations.
“Mother Earth speaks to us every day, when the wind passes through the trees, when the animals talk to each other, and when the rain falls to the ground," Villegas said

Congratulations to the recipients of the Indigenous Resilience Awards, we look forward to the next year!