Our commitment at the Forest Service is to work with tribal partners to achieve healthy and resilient landscapes both now and for generations to come.
The Forest Service recognizes American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians as people with distinct cultures and traditional values. We strive to be in the top tier of federal land managing agencies in partnering appropriately and collaboratively with American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal governments and communities for mutually beneficial outcomes.
American Indians and Alaskan Natives have a unique legal and political relationship with the government of the United States. This relationship is defined by history, treaties, statutes, executive orders, policies, court decisions, and the US Constitution. Indigenous people live in every state and often near Forest Service administered lands. The relationships with Tribes that Forest Service personnel build, maintain, and enhance make a difference.
Forest Service policy in general states that the Forest Service will:
- Maintain a governmental relationship with federally recognized tribal governments;
- Implement our programs and activities honoring tribal rights and fulfill legally mandated trust responsibilities;
- Administer programs and activities to address and be sensitive to traditional relations beliefs and practices; and
- Provide research, transfer of technology, and technical assistance to Tribes.
Throughout the agency, line officers are responsible for cultivating and maintaining government-to-government relationships in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, Executive Orders, and agency policy.
Cultural Resources on Federal Land are protected by Law.
It is Illegal to excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise deface any archaeological resource located on public or Indian lands. Damage to archaeological sites in excess of $500 is a felony punishable by up to $250,000 in fines and imprisonment for up to two years for the first offence. All materials, equipment, and vehicles used in the commission of such crimes are subject to forfeiture. Learn more about the protection of cultural resources.
The Tribal Relations Strategic Plan sets an organizational program of work for the next five years to achieve our Forest Service goals and reflects R5’s commitment to tribal collaboration, with an overarching objective to consistently apply and adhere to the laws and policies governing our relationship with Tribes and tribal communities.
Please submit any comments or questions by COB Oct. 14, 2022. Contact me, Rowena Yeahquo, if a tribe would like to arrange a G2G consultation.
A Joint Project of the USFS and BLM in coordination with the California Indian Basketweavers' Association and the California Indian Forest and Fire Management Council, and agency staff.
Tribal Voices: Listening and Learning
As we celebrate Native American Heritage Month this November, we reflect on the tribal partnerships that honor connections to ancestral lands and forests.
Tribal Relations Strategic Plan Assessment (PDF 917 KB)
The Tribal Relations Program Assessment (TRPA) was developed through a committee consisting of region staff and forest personnel, forest supervisors and tribal members.
Tribal Partnership Comparison Matrix
This document compares initiating frameworks and agreements to aid in the decision-making and implementation of partnership strategies between Tribal Nations and the USDA Forest Service.
Working Together: American Indian Tribes and the Forest Service improving Forest Service policy, programs and projects through consultation.