On December 1, 2011, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk announced the release of the final version of the Department of the Interior Policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes. In addition, Secretary Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3317, which establishes responsibilities for implementing the Policy throughout the Department of the Interior (DOI). Both documents are attached. The Secretarial Order may be found on the DOI website under the heading “Tribal Consultation Policy” at: www.doi.gov/tribes/Tribal-Consultation-Policy.cfm. The Policy, however, is posted with the December 1 press release at: www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/index.cfm.
The Policy reflects input received during consultation with tribes as well as comments received in response to publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER. See our General Memoranda 11-015 (February 4, 2011) and 11-070 (June 10, 2011). While a number of changes have been made from the version that was published in the FEDERAL REGISTER for comments, the changes appear to be mostly intended as clarifications rather than substantive changes. For example, a sentence has been added in the “Guiding Principles” section to clarify that the Policy “shall complement, and not supersede, any existing laws, rules, statutes, or regulations that guide consultation processes with Indian tribes.”
The Secretarial Order directs DOI bureaus and offices to begin the process of reviewing their existing practices and make changes in order to comply with the Policy and, within 180 days, to report on their progress to the DOI Tribal Governance Officer. The Secretarial Order also establishes a Joint Tribal-Federal Team to monitor implementation of the Policy (as provided for in section VI of the Policy). Within 45 days, the DOI Tribal Governance Officer is directed to provide the Secretary with a recommended list of members. Persons interested in serving on this Team may want to make their interests known.
If you would like further information or assistance regarding the Department of Interior Policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes, please let us know.