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Secretary Napolitano Unveils DHS Tribal Consultation and Coordination Plan

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Secretary Napolitano Unveils DHS Tribal Consultation and Coordination Plan

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today unveiled the Department's initiative for increased consultation and coordination with federally recognized tribes across the United States--building on current tribal partnerships to protect the safety and security of all people on tribal lands and throughout the nation.

"The United States values the government-to-government relationship we have with tribes, and we are committed to working together to ensure our mutual security," said Secretary Napolitano. "Enhancing our partnerships with tribal governments will streamline information sharing and foster a culture of collaboration between the Department and tribal nations in developing policies that have tribal implications."

DHS solicited feedback from all 564 federally-recognized tribes on the initial plan. The plan, which can be viewed at www.dhs.gov, commits to:

* Hiring a dedicated tribal liaison in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to serve as a central point of contact for tribal governments and coordinate the work of the tribal liaisons across the Department;
* Dedicating staff resources to tribal engagement and enhancing training for DHS tribal liaisons and other employees that regularly engage tribal governments and representatives;
* Promoting the incorporation of tribal public safety and law enforcement agencies into state and local fusion centers;
* Developing a Tribal Resource Guide for tribal leadership highlighting pertinent DHS programs and initiatives;
* Collaborating with tribal governments in the development of DHS policies that have tribal implications; and
* Working across the federal government to formalize a "one stop shop" for tribal governments for emergency management mitigation, planning, response and recovery efforts.

The plan of action was created in response to President Obama's Memorandum on Tribal Consultation--signed on Nov. 5, 2009, at the White House Tribal Nations Conference--which called on departments and agencies across the federal government to engage tribal officials in regular and meaningful collaboration.

This plan expands Secretary Napolitano's ongoing commitment to close coordination with tribal partners across the nation on security initiatives, and builds on the first-ever Department-wide Tribal Consultation Policy announced by Secretary Napolitano in 2009, which ensures direct involvement of Indian Tribes in developing regulatory policies, recommending grant procedures for tribes, and advising on key issues. She also directed every Component and Office in the Department to identify a dedicated tribal liaison or point of contact.

DHS also formalized agreements with the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona, the Seneca Nation of Indians, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and the Pascua Yaqui of Arizona to develop Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative compliant Enhanced Tribal Cards--which verify identity, tribal membership and citizenship for the purpose of entering the United States by land or sea--enhancing safety and security of U.S. borders while facilitating legitimate travel and trade. CBP is currently working with approximately 25 additional tribes across the country on this initiative.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.


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