Department of Interior to Hold Tribal Consultations in March
The Department of the Interior recently announced its plans to hold consultations with tribal leaders in March to hear their suggestions for departmental actions and federal policy. The Indian Affairs’ Office of Regulatory Affairs and Collaborative Action will hold four meetings throughout the month.
“Honoring our nation-to-nation relationship with Tribes and upholding the trust and treaty responsibilities to them are paramount to fulfilling Interior’s mission,” said Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, the Interior’s Tribal Governance Officer and Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs, according to The Hill.
The Interior’s announcement has urged other federal agencies to have a representative at the meetings and learn how they can better serve tribal communities. Also, all federally recognized tribes will be invited to the meetings to propose suggestions that benefit them.
The announcement came after President Biden signed a memorandum during his first days in office to strengthen tribal consultation. It “charges all executive departments and agencies with engaging in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have Tribal implications.”
“Meaningful consultations ensure we center Tribal voices as we address the health, economic, racial justice and climate crises ⎯ all of which disproportionately impact American Indian and Alaska Natives,” said Bledsoe Downes.