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Opening, Invocation, and Welcome



Kathryn Lynn, Department of the Interior, Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution, Co-Moderator

Good morning.

This workshop grew out of conversations with individuals across the Federal government who expressed a great deal of interest in learning more about government-to-government consultation, how successful consultation is conducted, and how to improve their own relationships with Tribes in order to improve the way their agencies interact and consult with Tribes. Repeatedly, people commented that they would like an opportunity to meet people in other agencies who were working on consultation issues in order to learn from each other’s experiences. People also expressed an interest in being able to discuss consultation with Tribes in general, rather than only in the context of a specific issue or concern.

The issues on which the Federal government needs to consult with Tribes are many and varied. As the broad representation at this workshop shows, the Federal government is involved in many different kinds of activities that touch Tribes and tribal members.

A couple questions that we need to ask before engaging in consultation and that we will address in this workshop are: Why do we consult? and What do we hope to accomplish through consultation?

Consultation is required by law, but it is also good business practice. It is an excellent method for decreasing or preventing conflict between the Federal government and Tribes over Federal plans and actions that affect Tribes. It allows the Federal government and Tribes to discover if there really are differences between them in regard to an action or plan and, if there are, to try to find ways to work through those differences in a non-adversarial way.

There are many resources to which the Federal government can look for assistance in consultation. A prime resource is Tribes themselves. Another resource is Federal employees who work in consultation, regardless of the agency for which they work. A third resource is Federal employees who are Natives. The panel discussions will give you an opportunity to learn more about these resources.

There is a general disclaimer for this workshop: The opinions expressed by the panel members are their own. Their opinions may not be shared by the panel member’s own agency, and may not be shared by the workshop co-sponsors.


Sarah Palmer, United States Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, Co-Moderator

There are three main themes of this workshop: The need for better understanding of trust responsibilities, for better understanding of Federal Indian law; how is consultation going—ask tribes, what are your experiences w/ Fed government; what are the lessons being learned in the Field, how is government doing on consultation within the federal family (First two today, last one tomorrow)