Indigenous Resilience Center

The AIR/Haury Indigenous Resilience STEM Center (IRC) will position The University of Arizona as a world leader in Indigenous resilience research.

Providing support for Indigenous students, staff and faculty while modeling and teaching respectful tribal engagement, the Center will be a hub for tribal resilience solutions, scholarships, tribal outreach and teaching. The goal is to build and support a collaborative team of STEM faculty who will work within the Center to create a robust community of Native and Indigenous STEM scholars and students that respectfully honor Traditional Knowledge and tribal sovereignty in all their endeavors.


  • Develop and support an interdisciplinary connected network of university researchers working with tribes on resilience
  • Leverage existing academic, extension, research, and training programs at UArizona related to Tribal and Indigenous resilience (e.g. water, climate change research)
  • With partners, provide direct support for on-the-ground tribal resilience projects (focused on food, energy, and water securities and sovereignty, climate adaptation, and health) with respect for tribal sovereignty and Indigenous knowledges

Karletta Chief

Director, AIRES/Haury Indigenous Resilience Center

Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Environmental Science

Focus Areas

The IRC 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.

IRC 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 IRC 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).


  • Facilitate efforts of UArizona climate/environment researchers, faculty, staff, and students working with Native Nations to build resiliency to climate impacts.
  • Assist Native Nations in identifying and building capacity for adaptation and in identifying climate-related sources of risk and opportunity.
  • Engage in outreach and extension programs with tribes in cooperation with Arizona Cooperative Extension.
  • Strengthen collaborative networks and relationships among researchers, tribal members, and other potential partners throughout the Southwest.
  • Support climate change adaptation and risk management projects taking place on tribal lands.
  • Build educational opportunities, support networks and mentoring and career pipelines at UArizona and in partnership with tribal colleges and organizations

Watch the interview  Read the UANews Article