Cultural expressions of American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIAN) reflect the relationship between AIAN and the plant and animal species present in an area. Different forces that modify that relationship and influence those expressions can potentially shape AIAN cultural heritage and even compromise their cultural identity. Herein, we propose seven modalities to illustrate how AIAN cultural expressions may respond to changes in environmental settings that alter the relationship between plant and animal assemblages, and Native peoples. Each modality provides insight into the vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity of AIAN cultural expressions to changes in environmental settings. Future research may delve deeper into these modalities and help identify appropriate methods for managing culturally important resources. More culturally sensitive management approaches may strengthen conservation practices and safeguard the cultural legacy of indigenous groups.