Environmental Review Toolkit
 

Tribal Consultation

Consulting with tribes in the 106 process may take many different forms and is most effective when based on ongoing relationships such as those facilitated by the unique Programmatic Agreement in North Dakota
Consulting with tribes in the 106 process may take many different forms and is most effective when based on ongoing relationships such as those facilitated by the unique Programmatic Agreement in North Dakota

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has a government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes, which the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) defines as “an Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community‚Ķ which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States‚Ķ”

This special relationship is affirmed in treaties, Supreme Court decisions, and Executive Orders, and provides that FHWA and other Federal agencies consult with Tribes regarding policy and regulatory matters. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) also requires that FHWA consult with Tribes for undertakings that may affect properties considered to have traditional religious and cultural significance.

Tribal consultation is an essential element in achieving a streamlined product. The NHPA, including Section 106, requires Federal agencies to work with Indian Tribes that may have a cultural or religious association to historic properties affected by an agency's undertakings.

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  • Presidential Memorandum regarding Tribal Consultation, November 5, 2009 (PDF)—This memorandum reaffirms the Federal government's commitment to tribal sovereignty, self-determination, and self-government as laid out in Executive Order 13175. EO 13175 ensures all Executive departments and agencies consult with Indian tribes and respect tribal sovereignty as they develop policy on issues that impact Indian communities.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation Plan of Action for Tribal Consultation—Tribal Transportation is the government-to-government relationship between the U.S. DOT and Tribal governments regarding roads, paths, and bridges which impact land use, culture, economic, social, and/or environmental quality of life for the area covered by a proposed plan.

FHWA

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

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  • Tribal Consultation Best Practices — The National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO) report on Tribal consultation best practices in historic preservation includes perspectives from Tribal governments and government agencies.
  • New Echota Cultural Resource Study — In an unprecedented and pro-active approach, Georgia FHWA and DOT teamed up to conduct this study of this National Historic Landmark site already recognized as the birthplace of the modern Cherokee government and the beginning of the Trail of Tears. View the video online at the Archaeology Channel.
  • North Dakota's Collaborative Approach — The North Dakota Division of FHWA and DOT have forged a unique agreement with multiple tribes, residing in or with an interest in the state, that facilitates ongoing consultation.
  • Oregon DOT and Siletz Tribes Protect Culturally Significant Dogbane — The Oregon DOT collaborated with the Siletz Tribes to transplant dogbane from along a highway to a protected wildlife refuge to improve Tribal access to the plant while maintaining roadway safety.
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Agencies and Organizations

Programs

Resources

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  • Wisconsin Native American Partnering Agreement—Representatives from nine of eleven Native American tribes joined with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Wisconsin Division Office signed a Tribal Partnership Agreement that promotes communication and cooperation between the state and the tribes on transportation projects. The agreement also assists Native American-owned firms in bidding on transportation projects, establishes additional coordination between WisDOT and tribes, and provides for cultural competency training to educate WisDOT staff on Native American customs and traditions.
  • Texas PA with Caddo Nation—The FHWA Texas Division Office and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) agreement with the Caddo Nation designates TxDOT as the agency point of contact and specifies the types of projects and procedures for consultation in designated areas of Texas that the Caddo Nation has identified.