Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015MT297B

Student Fellowship: Enhancing Tribal Environmental Health Literacy: Developing a toolkit to improve community understanding of rights and responsibilities regarding water quality.

Institute: Montana
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $2,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $880

Principal Investigators: Miranda Margetts, Miranda Margetts

Abstract: The lack of environmental health literacy awareness in relation to water quality is resulting in devastating short and long-term impacts on Native American communities. Native American communities do not receive the same environmental protections that more affluent areas do and risk avoidance measures (e.g. fish advisories explaining fish toxicity levels) are often hard to understand and not language or culturally appropriate. Native American communities are at particular risk for exposure to environmental contaminants due to subsistence diets, and spiritual and cultural practices that increase their likelihood for contact with contaminated soil and water. Making informed environmental health choices requires the development of skills to understand and take action towards environmental health risks. Various Federal, State and Tribal laws and policies regarding environmental health and water quality exist on tribal lands, creating a barrier to access to health information and a complex patchwork of information community members must face in order to understand their rights. Due to the legal and jurisdictional complexity on tribal lands, aspects of environmental health issues can be particularly difficult to navigate.