Interior outlines tribal co-management steps for agencies

From E&E News (subscription) today:

Interior outlines tribal co-management steps for agencies

The guidance comes out a day before a hearing on Capitol Hill on legislation that would bolster Native American tribes’ input into the use of public lands.

The Interior Department today unveiled new public lands guidance to expand and support co-management of federal lands, waters and wildlife with Native American tribes.

The Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service each individually released new policy memorandums with specific measures to facilitate and support agreements with tribes to collaborate in the co-stewardship of federal lands and waters.

The BLM instruction memorandum mandates the bureau’s 12 state directors, within six months, will “create state-specific plans for outreach to identify co-stewardship opportunities, including identifying potential Tribal partners and sources of Indigenous Knowledge.”

And it directs the bureau to “identify opportunities for co-stewardship as part of Tribal consultation and engagement during land use planning and implementation decisions.”

5 thoughts on “Interior outlines tribal co-management steps for agencies”

  1. The fact alone that it’s written in woke English gives me pause. Specifics would be nice but of course that’s why they speak woke. “co-stewardship”? I think there are probably legal issues with giving land away, or discriminating based on race, sex, ethnicity, blah, blah, blah. “Indigenous Knowledge” is another big flag, there’s the first amendment freedom from religion thing.

    • I’d like to argue with you, SS, but I guess I don’t speak your language. What is “woke English” and where does this say anything about imposing anything religious? It does quote Secretary’s Order 3403 that directs the Department and its bureaus to manage Federal lands and waters “in a manner that seeks to protect the treaty, religious, subsistence, and cultural interests of federally recognized Tribes,” but that just seeks to protect the free exercise of their religion, as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

      And what does “indigenous knowledge” mean to you and why should it not be considered? (It might be worth looking at the definition of that on p. 3.)

      I don’t see anything here about “giving land away.” I do think they make an interesting distinction between “co-stewardship” and “co-management,” the later of which is “co-stewardship activities undertaken pursuant to Federal authority allowing for the delegation of some aspect of Federal decision-making or that makes co-management otherwise legally necessary.” It then lists 7 authorities, none which appear to “delegate” any decision-making beyond what sound like essentially contractual relationships (where the agency retains the overall authority).

      Otherwise forms of “co-stewardship,” are “cooperative and collaborative,” and “may include, among other forms, sharing of technical expertise; combining Tribal and Bureau capabilities to improve resource management and advance the responsibilities and interests of each; and making Tribal knowledge, experience, and perspectives integral to the public’s experience of Federal lands.” None of this sounds too threatening to whatever your interests might be.

  2. “EBCI Tribal Council unanimously approved a TFPA proposal for forest management assistance on nearly 54,000 acres of tribal forestlands near the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests.” This appears to be a different topic than “Native American tribes’ input into the use of public lands.”

    But here is another possible model for co-management of public lands and resources:
    This is the State of California authorizing and funding tribal management contributions to ocean shore and river management through the Tribal Marine Stewards Network. The funding will support monitoring, educational and management activities within state jurisdiction (the article gives several examples). I see some parallels to federal lands.

    “The goal of the TMSN is in part to address former active exclusion of tribes; the TMSN website specifically names 1999’s California Marine Life Protection Act, which created a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) but did not recognize the unceded tribal gathering rights and customary uses in those waters.”

    “The Ocean Protection Council is proud to support the Tribal Marine Stewards Network as an inspiring example of how we can work in partnership to enhance the capacity of tribes to steward their ancestral lands and waters, and move closer to co-management.”

    “The power of the TMSN is to leverage intertribal collaboration in a way that builds the capacity of each tribe as a sovereign nation,” she said. “Working together, this effort is focused on tribal stewardship, but with the intention of supporting cultural lifeways, tribal workforce development, and community healing.”


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