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Successful Tribal Relations & Protocols for Environmental Justice Professionals

Milton Bluehouse, Jr. Tribal Consultation Resources, LLC

Our Agenda
Context of current inter-governmental tribal relations Tribal governments and communities and better understanding protocols Review of Tribal Consultation Policies and Environmental Justice Questions and Answers

Elements of Inter-Governmental Tribal Relations

Leadership: Representation of both Tribal & Federal Governments Protocol: Cultural Awareness & Appropriate

Relationships: Built on Trust & Dialogue

Motivation: Interests, Intent, Law & Policies

Effective Tribal Relations

Process Design: Collaborative & Open & Flexible

Federal Indian Policy Eras Impacts on Inter-Governmental Tribal Relations

Key Terms & Concepts

Indian Tribe
Federal & State Recognized Tribes

Tribal Sovereignty Indian Treaties Federal Trust Responsibility Indian Country Tribal Government

B - 16

Federal Indian Law & Policy

Inter-governmental tribal relations are rooted in:

Supreme Court Decisions Treaties Statutes Executive Orders *State Recognition

Treaty Making Era Removal & Reservation System Era

Allotment/Assimilation Era
Reorganization Era Termination & Relocation Era Self-Determination Era

Federal Indian Policy Eras


What do the policies represent:

For tribal communities?
For government agencies?

How do the policy eras impact intergovernmental tribal relations?

Current Tribal Governments Importance of Cultural Protocols

Tribal Governments Today

Possess right to form own government, enforce laws (civil and limited criminal), tax, establish membership requirements, license and regulate activities, zone and exclude persons.

Tribal Governments

Government authority in Indian Country

Tribal Executive Programs and Services
Tribal Council Committees and legislative oversight Tribal Judiciary Supreme Courts/Court of Appeals District Courts

Tribal Jurisdiction
Civil Jurisdiction: Inherent jurisdiction within Indian country: members, natural resources, civil codes, taxation. Limited Criminal Jurisdiction: Depends: Race, Location, Crime; Tribal, Federal or State jurisdiction.

Federal Recognition
Federal Government recognizes tribal

government as sovereign nations Treaties, executive orders, legislation, Supreme Court opinions establish, Define and Recognize Unique Relationship Lands and resources held in trust.
Trustee (Federal Govt), Beneficiary (Tribal

Govt), Corpus (land, resources, services), Fiduciary Relationship (Fed. Govt Acts in Good Faith in dealings with Tribal Govt).

Federal services and funding for tribal

programs, i.e. education, health, etc.

State Recognition
Federal Government does not recognize

tribal community as sovereign nation, no federal trust relationship State recognition may entail state policy or legislation recognizing tribal communities historic and cultural significance, and may provide limited state services to tribal community and members, and perhaps protection of identified resources and lands Check with governors office on scope of state tribal relations with state recognized tribe(s)

Tribal Cultures

The way we do things around here

Shared experience, Common knowledge

and customs, language and religious ceremony/belief

The Environment as Cultural Resource Tribe and Family



Cross-Cultural Differences

Body Language
Eye contact

Symbols & Images

Eagles, Owls,

Meetings Cultural/Seasonal

Coyotes, Snakes, Moon, Sun, Turtles,

Be respectful





In Indian Country Ask Permission First

Effective Communications

Assist tribal leaders and staff

Present technical information so that it is

easily/readily understandable. Help make the connection: Why is tribal participation/information important to the tribe and to you

Identify a Point-Of-Contact
CC tribal director or technical staff

Coordinate communication with other agencies

Effective Intergovernmental Relations

Have Respect
Leadership and Staff
Culture and Sacred Information Community & Tribal Members

Be Flexible/Adaptable Simplicity and Basics Prepare Be Open and Ready to Learn Be Professional and yet Personable

Working Nation-to-Nation
History and government relations Government structure, processes, laws, regulations, and policies Tribal Culture and Protocols Tribal citizens and communities

The Fourth Branch of Government

Consultation is built upon government-togovernment exchange of information and promotes enhanced communication that emphasizes trust, respect, and shared responsibility. Communication will be open and transparent without compromising the rights of Indian Tribes or the government-to-government consultation process.
From Department of Interior Tribal Consultation Policy

DOI Consultation Policy

Preamble II. Guiding Principles III. Definitions IV. Accountability & Reporting V. Training VI. Innovative & Effective Consultation Practices VII. Consultation Guidelines VIII. Supplemental Policies IX. Disclaimer

DOI Consultation Guidelines

Initiating Consultation B. Role of Tribal Governance Officer & Tribal Liaison Officer in Consultation Process C. Guidelines for Response to Request for Consultation D. Consultation Process Support E. Stages of Consultation
1. 2.

Initial Planning Stage

Proposal Development Stage 3. Implementation of Final Federal Action Stage


Impact of Consultation Guidelines

Where do we begin? Who is in charge?

Joint Proposal Development Determine roles Benchmark goals timeline Identify knowledge & funding requirements Schedule tasks & responsibilities Initial Planning Identify participants Identify Tribal protocol Discuss goals Review healthy group relations Explore work plans Decide whether facilitator is needed Assess viability

Implement Action Undertake action Communicate Share knowledge Monitor Solve problems Update plan as needed Review performance Evaluate Discuss improvements Innovate Resolve issues Report findings
Complete work Monitor schedule vs work completed Work through Challenges Document/report results

Move on Disband Restructure, or Celebrate accomplishments Renew Celebrate milestones Recognize group acheivements

Publish or Share Results* Establish communication plan *Sacred or protected information Present/publish results

Collaborative Agenda

Importance of: Open-ended Agendas Transparency Flexibility Explore: Joint purpose Agenda that includes everyones priorities

Goals for Working Together

Everyone is clear on project/issue/work Clarify roles & responsibilities

Points of Contact Communication preferences

Establish agenda & process Identify areas of agreement and areas where differences exist

What is Interest-Based Intergovernmental Relations?

Focus on: Problem: Not People/Personalities Interests: Not positions Options: Generate range of possibilities for mutual gain prior to decision making Criteria: Seeks objective standards that work for everyone. Relationship: Builds supportive relations
Adapted from Getting to Yes Fisher & Ury

Disadvantages of Positional Intergovernmental Relations

May Produce less optimal agreements Inefficient process Endangers ongoing relations Complex and problematic with multiple parties Conflict avoidance and rush to reach agreement may produce imbalanced and unfair results

Layers that Mask Interests



Questions that Uncover Interests

What does the tribe/agency like (or not like) about this proposal? Why is that important to the tribe/agency? What are the reasons that is important? What concerns does the tribe/agency have about what is being proposed? Are there any other options available?

Indian History, Law & Policy Communication Listening Questioning Reframing Skills

Simplicity Respect


Patience Professionalism


Cultural Awareness TRUST

Collaborative Mission = Interests Interest-Based Needs Interest-Based Consultation Negotiation Wants Conditions/Criteria Options * Choice information Decision Making


JR Bluehouse Tribal Consultation Resources, LLC jrbluehouse@tribalcr.com (505) 401- 3240