Morning Plenary: Collaborating with Tribes

The geopolitical region that we now know as California has for millennia been home to more than 100 distinct Native American Tribes. Beginning with the arrival of Spanish missionaries and soldiers in San Diego in 1769, California Tribes have endured the loss of their lands, resources, and people to the forces of colonialism. Despite an array of injustices and disadvantages, California’s indigenous peoples continue to demonstrate unparalleled resilience and stewardship of the environment. Today, many local governments share boundaries with California Tribes. They also govern land that is considered Tribal ancestral lands and that continues to be home to indigenous people and culturally-important species and resources. Collaboration between Tribal and non-tribal communities is not always easy, but it can produce powerful results. This session will showcase some of the nation-leading climate and energy work being done by Tribes and their partners in the San Diego area. Speakers will highlight Tribes’ unique history, perspective, knowledge, and legal authority, all of which make them vital leaders, teachers, and partners in regional climate and energy efforts. Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of Tribal perspectives on a host of relevant issues including ways to respectfully and effectively engage and collaborate with Tribes.


  • Joshua Simmons, Prosper Sustainably, President and Founder, Principal Consultant
  • Shasta Gaughen (she/her), Pala Band of Mission Indians, Environmental Director/THPO
  • Michael Connolly, Campo Kumeyaay Nation, Resource Economist/Kumeyaay Historian
  • Angie Hacker (Moderator), CCEC, Statewide Best Practices Coordinator