Tribal Relations

Tribal Relations

The Forest Service Tribal Relations Program supports partnering and collaborative relationships with American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal governments and communities for mutually beneficial outcomes.  Tribal Relations staff in the Southern Region advise leadership and support integration of Tribal relations issues across all agency program areas.


A Vision for the Future

US Forest Service Tribal Relations Program

We envision a future where the Forest Service and Indian Tribes work collaboratively through government-to-government relationships to manage the resources entrusted to their care – a future where the Forest Service possesses the organizational structure, skills, and policies to redeem our responsibilities in this partnership.


The Forest Service manages the national forest system lands and resources entrusted to its care for the benefits of the general public, while respecting the special trust relationship of the United States government towards Indian Tribes. This trust relationship is built on the US Constitution, federal law, regulation, policy, Executive Order, and Presidential Memoranda.

Tribes have a unique legal and political relationship with federal agencies. Consultation, on a government-to-government basis, provides ways in which we and Tribes may work together. Consultation objectives are to ensure that:

  • Our programs and activities respect tribal self-government and sovereignty.

  • We collaborate and consult with Tribes about the formation and implementation of policies they may affect their rights and interests.

  • Effective working relationships achieve ecosystem health and other commonly-held goals.

Line Officers have the responsibility to ensure that Tribal rights and interests are represented in the decision-making process. Line Officers also have the responsibility to make sure that consultation is conducted with Tribes on decisions at national, regional, area, station, forest, and district levels – especially for cases with complex issues and significant policy.

Tribal Relations Resources

Forest Service Tribal Relations Strategic Plan

Washington Office Tribal Relations Information

Southern Region Tribal Relations MOU Template

Master Participating Agreement with the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma


Other Regional Tribal Relations Information

Ocala TR Information


Tribal Relations Success Stories and News

Technology Transfer for Traditional Uses

Memorandum of Understanding with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Memorandum of Understanding with the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, Alabama

R8 To Bridge A Gap (TBAG) Conference