Indigenous resilience is an increasingly popular topic in research on how the world’s indigenous peoples cope with and adapt to global climate change. Currently, a scientific gap exists in the understanding of the factors shaping Indigenous resilience. This study aimed to address this gap by focusing on two Indigenous Tayal communities in northern Taiwan and how they have coped with and built resilience in the face of climate change and climate-related disasters. This study employed both quantitative (n = 101) and qualitative methods (n = 10) to determine the factors that shape the livelihood adaptation pathways and resilience capacities (i.e., absorptive, adaptive, and transformative) of Indigenous and local smallholder farmers. This study demonstrated that the adaptation pathways of individual households must be placed in the broader context of economic, social, and historical processes. Cultural practices, traditional ecological knowledge systems, place attachment, and perceptions, as well as socioeconomic factors and convictions regarding the need to combat climate change and conserve nature, have shaped households’ resilience capacities. The evidence of a relationship between ethnicity and livelihood resilience was far from conclusive, and both Indigenous and non-indigenous households living in the same locality must be included when assessing Indigenous resilience to climate change. This study contributes to better understanding the agency of Indigenous households in their response to climate change and negative impacts of climate-related events. Such an understanding is necessary because sufficient insight into Indigenous and endogenous forms of climate change adaptation is lacking.
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