U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) that the department will institute its first-ever policy to engage the direct and interactive involvement of Indian Tribes in developing regulatory policies, recommending grant procedures for tribes, and advising on key issues.
"Tribal interests are a necessary and integral part of this department's decision-making process," said Secretary Napolitano. "Starting at the outset, even the policy itself will be developed in a consultative way. We will move swiftly to get a good policy on the books, and begin with open and continuous communication to achieve results."
NCAI will work to gather the input of its member tribes, as well as non-member tribes that are affected, and will meet with DHS to present the tribes' consensus input.
The Secretary also announced that the department will bring on someone in the Office of Intergovernmental Programs specifically to handle relationships with Tribes, and that each DHS component will have a liaison dedicated to tribal issues.