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Dept. of Interior to host tribal consultation sessions

A tribal consultation session with leaders from federally recognized tribes in the Eastern region of the U.S. will be held March 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The session, which will also be for Eastern Oklahoma and Southern Plains regions, is being conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Eastern region stretches from Maine to Florida.  

A session for Navajo, Southwest and Western regions will also be held March 10 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

According to a press release from the DOI,  the sessions will attempt to “strengthen the United States’ nation-to-nation relationship with the tribes by hearing from their leaders suggestions for federal policy and departmental actions, including identifying additional best practices, to improve consultation and fortify Interior’s relationship with tribal governments.”

The sessions are a result of President Biden’s memorandum from Jan. 26 that called for improving nation-to-nation relationships.  

“Honoring our nation-to-nation relationship with tribes and upholding the trust and treaty responsibilities to them are paramount to fulfilling Interior’s mission.  Meaningful consultations ensure we center tribal voices as we address the health, economic, racial justice and climate crises — all of which disproportionately impact American Indians and Alaska Natives,” Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, Interior’s designated Tribal Governance Officer and Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs, said in a statement.

The teleconference access information is:

Eastern, Eastern Oklahoma, and Southern Plains Regions: 10 a.m. to 1 ET; Call-in number 877-601-4492; Passcode 3173996 

Navajo, Southwest, and Western Regions: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET; Call-in number 800-857-9872; Passcode 3906969.

The fourth and last session in the series will be held March 12 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET with tribal leaders from the Alaska, Northwest and Pacific regions.  The first session was held March 8 with tribal leaders from the Great Plains, Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions.

Written comments from the consultation series can be submitted at by midnight ET on March 19, 2021.