GM 12-098

Indian Affairs Schedules Listening Sessions Regarding Sacred Sites on Federal Lands

On August 2, 2012, the Office of the Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs announced via the attached FEDERAL REGISTER notice that it has scheduled four listening sessions to obtain tribal views on protection of and access to sacred sites, including sacred sites on Interior-managed tribal trust lands and other federal lands.

The input from tribes is intended to help the Department of the Interior in “developing policies that result in effective, comprehensive and long-lasting federal protection of and tribal access to the places that are so important to the fabric and culture of tribal nations.” Tribal views are sought on, but not limited to:

• Meanings of sacred sites and whether the Department should attempt to define the term “sacred site”

• Personal views of existing Departmental practices or policies, if any, that should be revised to protect sacred sites and steps necessary to make appropriate revisions

• Potential development of Departmental practices or policies to protect sacred sites

• How the Department should facilitate tribal access to sacred sites

• How the Department should control and grant access to tribally provided information regarding sacred sites

• Whom the Department should include (recognized leaders of tribal governments, tribal spiritual leaders, et al.) in determining whether a site is considered “sacred” by a tribe

The half-day listening sessions will be held:
August 13, 2012 Albuquerque, NM
August 16, 2012 Billings, MT
August 23, 2012 Prior Lake, MN
August 24, 2012 Uncasville, CT
August 28, 2012 Portland, OR

The times and meeting specifics are in the notice. Written comments are to be submitted by close of business on September 21, 2012, via email to or via hardcopy to the address in the notice.

Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding the Indian Affairs listening sessions on sacred sites.