American Indian and Alaska Native Climate Change Working Group

Connie HudsonConnie Hudson

2007 NASA / AIHEC Summer intern

Haskell Indian Nations University
American Indian Studies

Project: Surface water quality and the effect on increase flooding in southeastern Oklahoma


  • To assess surface water contamination by area industry.
  • To observe flooding impacts on human health and environmental
  • To assess the use of remote sensing and GIS to identify possible contamination
  • To create a visual reference for community, tribal, and industrial leaders to utilize in decision making.


  • Changing weather patterns could impact the regions susceptibility to flooding.
  • In the event of flooding animal waste could contaminate surface water.
  • Water contamination will eventually flow to lakes and rivers.
  • I was able to create a map of watersheds. There is still a need for localize study of watersheds with a need for overlay of production farms, processing plants with GIS.


  • I was able to interview elders from this region and the question of climate change and global warming brought about different answers. Being prepared for any change was not addressed, they were not considering the possibilities of adapting to these changes, they believe it is inevitable and there is nothing they can do. To educate these people now is important; they are not being educated just informed.
  • With the GIS watershed information I have visualized the potential for contamination where flooding could occur. Waste seepage into surface water will potentially occur in a very dramatic way in the event of weather disasters.   The contamination to surface water creates a domino effect it has the potential to seep into ground water which makes up 90% of drinking water in this area.
  • With my research I want to bring to the people, tribal leaders, and industrial leaders of this region visualization of the impact climate changes will have on their life ways, now and in the future. Emergency preparedness is a topic I would like to address in all future research. Education, which I hope will appeal to the elders and tribal leaders, is the need to recognize their part in the process of slowing down global warming.
  • The elders understand climate change, since they are exposed to it at all times. What they are unfamiliar with is the bigger picture of global warming, this is why my project and the outreach that I do is so important.

Ongoing and current events

  • Letter writing campaign to all facilities utilized by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and the ten counties in which they reside to inform them of the importance of recycling, in hopes that they will implement recycling programs.
  • Chahta’s United Organization at Haskell Indian Nations University is currently in the process of recycling at Roe Cloud dormitory and will challenge all clubs to do the same for other dormitories on campus.


  • I want to thank the people who have encouraged and supported me through this summer research experience. From Haskell Indian Nations University: Dr. Daniel Wildcat, AIS Advisor, Julia Goodfox, AIS faculty, Paula Smith, Nasbah Ben my co-researchers from the AIHEC/NASA group. The summer students in the HINU GIS lab, HINU GIS instructor R.J.Rowley.
  • I want to thank Dr. Nancy Maynard my mentor from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and Jennifer Brennan, NASA EOSDIS Outreach lead, Bull Bennett, PHD. N.D. Association of Tribal Colleges whose encouragement made this summer research experience a true learning experience.
  • I want to thank Janie Nall, NASA Goddard Space FLight Center and Al Kuslikis for coordinating the SRE program.
  • All those who attended the 2nd Annual Climate Change Symposium this summer at Haskell Indian Nations University.


My Power point

The alliance for climate protection

Do Something

CNN - Impact your world

Not a Well Behave Woman BLOG

Center for American progress

USGS Emergency Management Tribal Training

Interactive - Kids Capital

"Much of the impact from climate change will not come from average conditions but from disasters that exact sudden and huge tolls on people, property and ecosystems." ~E.Roell/summary, SPM-1 in 2007


Map of study area

Landsat image of study area

Watershed map of study area