Tribal Relations



White House Seeking Nominees for National Ocean Council Governance Coordinating Committee

The White House is seeking to identify nominees for Tribal government representatives to serve on the Governance Coordinating Committee, a component group of the National Ocean Council.  Formal letters seeking nominations were mailed last week.The National Ocean Council (NOC) is responsible for overseeing the implementation of national policy governing stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. The Governance Coordinating Committee (GCC), an advisory group consisting of eighteen officials from State, Tribal, and local governments serving two-year terms, helps the NOC direct ocean policy to best serve the varied needs of jurisdictions and stakeholders at the State, Tribal, and local levels.

Three of the seats on the GCC are allocated for Tribal government representation. For the past two years, these seats have been filled by Mr. Steve Crawford (Passamaquoddy Tribe of Pleasant Point), Ms. Jacque Hostler (Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria), and Mr. Micah McCarty (Makah Indian Tribe). As their terms expire, we thank these representatives for their service and contributions to the GCC. The White House is seeking nominations for Tribal government representatives to serve on the next cycle of the GCC. Given the limited number of positions on the GCC, it is encouraged that nominators submit, in priority order, up to three nominees (from any Federally recognized Tribe) for consideration. Current representatives may be re-nominated.

Criteria for Selecting Nominees:
•             Consistent with Federal law, any State, territorial, commonwealth, Tribal, or local employee who serves on the GCC must be either an elected official or be designated by an elected official with jurisdiction over the employee’s office/agency to act on that official’s behalf when conducting the business of the GCC.
•             Nominees must be residents of a State, commonwealth, or territory within the region they are representing.
•             Nominees should be able to commit to participation in GCC meetings and conference calls (approximately four per year) and to fully participate in Committee business for the duration of their term.
•             Nominees for this position should be able to commit to at least a two-year term.
•             Incumbents may be nominated for a subsequent term. Incumbent nominees will be considered in the selection process alongside all other nominees.
•             Nominees selected to serve on the GCC will not be compensated by the Federal Government.

For each nominee, please provide:
•             Contact information, including full legal name, title, current position, work address, work phone number, cell phone number, and preferred email address; and
•             A brief statement (no more than one page) describing the nominee’s interest in and qualifications for serving on the GCC.

Please send nominations (with requested information above) to the National Ocean Council Office at or fax to (202) 456-6546, ATTN: National Ocean Council Office.

The deadline for submission of nominees is September 15, 2014. Selected nominees will be notified directly.  All questions should be directed to the NOC Office at (202) 395-2010.


EPA Issues Policy Supporting Tribal and Indigenous Communities

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the EPA Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples, reinforcing the agency’s commitment to work with tribes on a government-to-government basis when issues of environmental justice arise.

“All tribal and indigenous communities deserve environmental and public health protection. Through this agreement, we are reinforcing our commitment to tribal communities, especially in addressing issues of Environmental Justice,” said Administrator McCarthy.  “We know that tribes are uniquely impacted by a changing climate, which highlights the importance of this agreement and other agency actions, including funding research through the STAR Tribal health grants.”

Over the past 20 years, the agency has made substantial progress in developing both its tribal and environmental justice programs. Building on EPA’s Plan EJ 2014, the policy integrates 17 environmental justice and civil rights principles. The plan also identifies existing informational and resource tools to support EPA in its endeavor to make indigenous regions environmentally safe. This policy, started in 2011, was developed through tribal government consultations, meetings with state and tribal organizations and three public comment periods engaging indigenous communities and other stakeholders. More information on:

 EPA Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples

EPA’s Plan EJ 2014


Interior Extends Comment Period on Proposed Federal Acknowledgment ReformProposed rule would address arbitrary, inefficient process

Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn has announced an extension of the public comment period and additional tribal consultations and public meetings on proposed regulations to reform the process by which Interior formally and officially recognizes Indian tribes. Due to significant public comments and interest, the comment period deadline has been extended by 60 days.  Two additional tribal consultations will be held via teleconference on August 18th and 20thfor tribal leaders, their representatives and staff. Two additional public meetings will be held via teleconference on September 3rd and 5th. Written comments may now be submitted through September 30, 2014. The Office of Indian Affairs has established a website, where the public can access the proposed rule, a frequently asked questions (FAQs) document, and other information at:

Full story at


From New Report Documents Changes in Navajo Nation Lands, Offers Hope for Resilience

In the Southwest, the decade of 2001-10 has been warmer than any of the previous 10 decades of the 20th century, with greater temperature increases during spring and summer, decreases in number of cold waves, and increases in number of heat waves.Since 1994, there has been an overall drought coupled with brief periods of wetness. During the past 2,000 years, there have been droughts more severe and longer than droughts in modern times. It is possible that the relative wetness of the previous century could have been an anomaly. Rising temperatures, prolonged drought, increases in extreme weather events, and ecosystem changes have the potential to significantly alter the 27,000 square miles of Navajo Nation reservation lands. More than 170,000 people live in this arid region about the size of West Virginia.

The new report Considerations for Climate Change and Variability Adaptation on the Navajo Nation provides foundational information for planning for anticipated and proven challenges from climatic shifts on the Navajo Reservation. The report highlights potential and actual climate changes occurring in the Southwest and Four Corners region and presents an example of an adaptation planning and implementation process, applicable to any group facing disruption. Read the report here. (pdf)


U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Declares Fishery Disaster for Fraser River Sockeye Salmon Fishery in Washington

On January 28, 2014, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker determined a commercial fishery failure for the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery in Washington State. The fishery resource disaster was caused by the low return of sockeye salmon to the Fraser River which resulted in subsequent closure of the fishery for the 2013 fishing season. The closure resulted in significant revenue losses for tribal and non-tribal fishermen. The full press release may be viewed at:


Final Tribal Consultation Handbook

On November 13, 2013, NOAA announced the Final Tribal Consultation Handbook titled
NOAA Procedures for Government-to-Government Consultation With Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.” This Handbook is intended to improve coordination and consultation with Indian tribal governments.  It will assist NOAA, including its regional and field staff, in conducting effective government-to-government consultations and fulfill NOAA’s obligations under E.O. 13175 and Department Administrative Order 218-8 on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, and the Department of Commerce Tribal Consultation and Coordination Policy.

On June 24, 2013, NOAA published a notice and requested comments on a draft “NOAA Procedures for Government-to-Government Consultation with Federally Recognized Indian Tribes” in the Federal Register.  In response, NOAA received letters from 10 different entities, with approximately 25 unique comments.  A summary of comments received and NOAA’s responses to those comments will be published this week in the Federal Register.

In addition, this year NOAA has:
• Announced a NOAA Tribal Liaison—Linda Belton;
• Announced a Tribal Liaison for each Line Office with in NOAA which
are listed in the Handbook;
• Established a Tribal Working Group;
• Developed an external websites for all Tribal information;
• NOAA has meetings on continual basis both regionally and nationally
with tribal leaders and commissions;
• Developing internal training, tracking and assistance for our employees; and
• Highlighted the importance of Tribal consultation across the Agency.