“Tribes need a seat at the decision-making table before policies are made that impact their communities. The creation of this new Advisory Committee is a timely and much-needed development that will ensure Tribal leaders can engage at the highest levels of the Department on the issues that matter most to their people.”
— Secretary Deb Haaland
For far too long, Tribal leaders have lived with decisions made by the Department of the Interior and federal agencies without having an opportunity to share their concerns or the needs of their communities. As the Department continues to renew its commitment to honor and strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship and empower Tribal Nations, leaders need to be at the decision-making table and have a voice in programs and policies that will have an impact on their people.
During the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit, Secretary Deb Haaland announced the formation of the Department’s first-ever Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC). The STAC will ensure Tribal leaders have direct and consistent contact and communication with the current and future Department officials to facilitate robust discussions on intergovernmental responsibilities, exchange views, share information and provide advice and recommendations regarding Departmental programs and funding that impact Tribal Nations.
This comes as the Department is collaborating with Tribal leaders on implementing President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and working to address some of the most urgent issues facing Indigenous communities, including the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis. This important move will further strengthen the Department’s federal trust relationship with federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and their leadership.
The STAC is composed of a primary Tribal representative from each of the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs Regions (BIA), and one alternate member from each region. The members are appointed on a staggered term for up to two years. The Secretary, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, will designate one member of the STAC to serve as chairperson. A list of the current members was announced in June 2022.