Central Appalachian Folk & Traditional Arts: Comprehensive Plan

The Central Appalachian Folk and Traditional Arts (CAFTA) Survey and Planning Project is a project of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in cooperation with the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network. The project included a 15-month study of folk and traditional arts in the central Appalachian regions of Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

This Comprehensive Program Proposal (CPP) is a product of the Central Appalachian Folk and Traditional Arts (CAFTA) Survey and Planning Project, a project of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) in cooperation with the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN). This CPP serves as a roadmap for a multi-state grant-making program designed to increase the understanding, recognition, and practice of the living folk and traditional arts practices present in central Appalachia.

(click image below to view the PDF report)

Central Appalachian Folk & Traditional Arts: Final Report

The Central Appalachian Folk and Traditional Arts (CAFTA) Survey and Planning Project is a project of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) in cooperation with the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN). The project included a 15-month study of folk and traditional arts in the central Appalachian regions of Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. This report includes a summary of project activities and research methods, as well as a presentation of findings based on CAFTA’s specific learning objectives. Summarizing trends and identifying opportunities, this document guided the creation of a comprehensive program proposal for a multi-state grant-making initiative designed to increase the understanding, recognition, and practice of the living traditions currently present in Central Appalachia.

(click image below to view the PDF report)

LiKEN publishes report about heirs’ property in Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama

LiKEN has completed a study that evaluates the efficacy of a major law that seeks to protect families that own heirs’ property.  Heirs’ property is created when land passes without a will to two or more descendants who become “tenants in common”. This kind of “tangled title” can make families vulnerable to predatory land grabs. Across the Cotton Belt of the U.S. South, heirs’ property correlates with low wealth and land loss in African American communities and is common in other regions with entrenched poverty (Central Appalachia, the colonias in southern Texas, and Native American communities).. 

As an effort to help preserve family wealth and reduce the likelihood of forced sales and inequitable land grabs, the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act (UPHPA) was drafted in 2010. It has since been passed in 18 states and introduced in seven others. In 2012 and 2014, Georgia and Alabama, respectively, passed the UPHPA. The act was introduced in Kentucky in early 2021.  

LiKEN just completed a 10 month study to see how well this law has worked in Georgia and Alabama, and what its benefits might be in Kentucky. The full report can be downloaded here.

Our findings (click here or the image below to view full size PDF)

We welcome your suggestions and hope that if you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact Carson Benn cbenn@likenknowledge.org. If you are an heirs’ property owner, you may assist this research by agreeing to an interview with one of our researchers, or by making and sharing your own photographs and video recordings.

This research was supported by funds from the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center.

Addressing Climate-Forced Displacement in the United States: A Just and Equitable Response

By Julie Maldonado

The climate crisis is ravaging communities nationwide and disproportionately affecting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, who are losing their homes and livelihoods due to more severe and frequent storms, rising seas, erosion, flooding, extreme heat, wildfires, and various other climate events. These communities are further disenfranchised through inadequate and inequitable public policy responses to our climate crisis, including extreme weather events, which further exacerbates and even creates the unfolding, accumulating disasters.

To motivate action to advance community-led solutions to climate-forced displacement in the US, the Legal Justice Coalition (facilitated by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Lowlander Center) and the Rising Voices Community Relocation & Site Expansion Working Group issued policy recommendations earlier this year. The set of recommendations is designed to guide policymakers to address the shortfalls of official current responses to the threat of climate-forced displacement but also challenges them to launch a concerted effort to respond to this urgent crisis. At the heart of these policy recommendations is the need to center the agency, leadership, and self-determination of frontline communities in addressing climate-forced displacement.  

The policy recommendations for both Congressional and Executive Action include the need to: 

  • Increase resources for frontline communities
  • Grant government funds directly to communities
  • Make FEMA more equitable
  • Establish a just response to support adaptation-in-place and/or relocation
  • Create a human rights governance framework

The US Government Accountability Office identified that “unclear federal leadership is the key challenge to climate migration as a resilience strategy.” Currently, there is no lead federal agency tasked with managing and coordinating the federal government’s climate crisis response, nor is there dedicated funding to support community relocation efforts and/or adaptation measures to prevent communities from forced relocation, instead of adaptation in place. 

As detailed in the full policy brief, while the need for dedicated funding for adaptation in place and relocation is clear, it is critical that government programs and policies and the process of disaster planning, response, and recovery should go beyond only financial support for material upgrades to homes and infrastructure. The entire process must account for the true costs to a community, including loss of sacred sites, cultural values, burial sites, health and social well-being, and other intrinsic values—which frontline communities, and in particular Indigenous Peoples, experience when separated from their ancestral lands and subsistence way of life. This is why it is even more imperative that Tribes and community representatives are included in disaster planning at the state and federal levels.

The federal government should establish a governance framework for climate-forced displacement that protects the rights and dignity of communities and provides them with financial resources and effective support. This process calls for a better partnership between science and governance grounded in principles of justice, and for that partnership to jointly explore pathways that put relocation in the context of a larger set of adaptation measures to better understand the tradeoffs across these options over time.

To achieve a response to climate-forced displacement in the United States that centers justice and equity, the UUSC and Rising Voices-Working Group coalition offers a summary and topline recommendations, along with the full policy brief

This coalition of community leaders, legal advocates, researchers, and allies invites you to join in urging our elected officials in the Biden Administration and in U.S. Congress to center equity, justice, and human rights in addressing climate-forced displacements in the United States. 

Please refer to the initiative webpage to read the recommended policy solutions and to sign-on. We looking forward to working with you to #SupportClimateJustice. 

Julie Maldonado, Associate Director

Julie Maldonado is a cultural anthropologist and serves as LiKEN’s Associate Director. As part of this role, she is Co-Director of the Rising Voices: Climate Resilience through Indigenous and Earth Sciences program, in joint partnership with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research/National Center for Atmospheric Research (UCAR/NCAR), and is the lead for the LiKEN-produced PROTECT film, in partnership with Paper Rocket Productions. She also works with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals to facilitate and support the development of tribes’ climate change adaptation planning and vulnerability assessments. Julie is a lecturer in the University of California-Santa Barbara’s Environmental Studies Program and for Future Generations University. She is also a founding member of the Culture and Disaster Action Network (CADAN). 

Just Environmental and Climate Pathway

Knowledge Exchange Among Community Organizers, Scholar-Activists, Citizen-Scientists and Artists

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 | Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico | Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting 


Julie K. Maldonado, PhD, Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN)

Dana E. Powell, PhD, Appalachian State University, Department of Anthropology


Theron Begay, Oceti Sakowin (NoDAPL) Camp

Mike Eisenfeld, San Juan Citizens Alliance

Lori Goodman, Diné CARE

Lyla June Johnston, New Energy Economy

Kendra Pinto, Greater Chaco Coalition/Twin Pines Community

Kathy Sanchez, Tewa Women United

LiKEN Sponsor and Appalachian State Sponsor