A Renewed Era of Federal-Tribal Relations
News Release from White House, January 2, 2017
BY KAREN DIVER, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS IN THE WHITE HOUSE DOMESTIC POLICY COUNCIL
Today the White House is releasing a report outlining some of the successes of this Administration while working on behalf of Tribes.
The Obama Administration has made historic progress over the past eight years in improving the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States and federally recognized Tribes. Together, the Obama Administration and Tribal Nations have accomplished shared goals and achieved milestones that upheld self-governance and self-determination – the foundation for prosperous and resilient tribal nations.
Today, the White House is releasing a report outlining some of the successes of this Administration while working on behalf of Tribes. The report sets a baseline of progress for Tribal Nations to reference in their ongoing work with the federal government, and outlines the priorities that the White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) will continue to work on based on Tribal leaders’ recommendations.
President Barack Obama being honored with a blanket ceremony and song during the 8th White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C., September 29, 2016.
While the Administration and Tribes have partnered for historic achievements, there is still much more to do. President Obama signed Executive Order 13647 on June 26, 2013, establishing the WHCNAA, which represents a path to a more effective federal government for Indian Country, bringing together federal Departments and Agencies from across the Executive Branch to “break down siloes” and coordinate for more effective programs.
As demonstrated over the past eight years, when Tribal Nations and the federal government work together in a true spirit of nation-to-nation cooperation, momentous progress can be achieved.
Read the full report HERE.
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Improving the Nation-to-Nation Relationship
Over the past eight years, the Administration has strengthened the nation-to-nation relationship by striving to uphold the federal government’s treaty and trust responsibilities to Tribal nations. Longstanding, historic disputes with Tribes and American Indians and Alaska Natives were settled during the Obama Administration, facilitating the opportunity for Tribes and the federal government to move beyond the tension and cost of protracted litigation. Those settlements have infused billions of dollars into Indian Country, creating opportunities for economic development, social services, and Tribal government programs. In addition, hundreds of thousands of acres of Tribal homelands have been restored in trust for Tribes. Some additional highlights include:
Providing a Process for Reestablishing a Government-to-Government Relationship with Native Hawaiians.
DOI promulgated a final rule that provides an administrative mechanism for reestablishing a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community. Native Hawaiians are the largest indigenous group in the United States that lacks a government-to-government relationship with the United States. (Because 'indigenous' does not equal 'tribal'. Hello?) The rule would leave it to the Native Hawaiian community to decide whether to form a government, and to determine whether to seek a government-to government relationship with the United States.
Improving Tribal and Native Hawaiian Involvement in the National Historic Preservation Program.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), early in 2016 the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) launched an effort to improve the effectiveness of the national historic preservation program. The ACHP is developing a set of policy recommendations and achievable implementation strategies that can be implemented through legislative, executive, or administrative action. Since the NHPA provides Indian Tribes a critical opportunity to have a voice in federal decision making about projects that might affect Tribal sacred and historic places, the ACHP sought input from Tribal leaders and preservation staff as well as intertribal organizations about ways to improve Tribal involvement in the national historic preservation program. Their responses are included in the recommendations and will be formally submitted to the next Administration and the incoming Congress at the end of this year. They will also provide direction for the ACHP’s Office of Native American Affairs.
Improving Tribal and Native Hawaiian consultation in federal project planning.
In response to the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and building on the Advisory Council Historic Preservation’s (ACHP) longstanding efforts, the ACHP issued an unprecedented amount of guidance on topics ranging from the integration of Section 106 and the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to the role of applicants in federal-Tribal consultation. The ACHP also published Recommendations for Improving Tribal-Federal Consultation.
Protection of Confidential Information.
The ACHP issued a “Frequently Asked Questions” guidance document on protecting sensitive information about historic properties under Section 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Federal agency officials, SHPOs, THPOs, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and other stakeholders in the Section 106 process often ask ACHP staff how sensitive information about historic properties can be protected from public disclosure.
read … Full Report