Secretary Vilsack is committed to a Department of Agriculture (USDA) that serves Tribal governments and individual American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) serves as a single point of contact for Tribal issues and works to ensure that relevant programs and policies are efficient, easy to understand, accessible, and developed in consultation with the American Indians and Alaskan Native constituents they impact.
OTR continues to refine the consultation process to ensure strong partnerships that will preserve Tribal sovereignty and is responsible for:
Government-to-government relations between USDA and tribal governments;
Advising Secretary Vilsack on Tribal issues and concerns;
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA);
Issues impacting Tribal members; and
Working cooperatively and collaboratively across USDA to build a an integrated approach to issues, programs, and services addressing the needs of American Indians and Alaskan Natives.
There are small piles of fallen wooden timbers on national forests in the Rocky Mountain Region that tell a story of the area’s past. They are part of aboriginal wooden structures known as wickiups, a conical-shaped dwelling used by native people. These relics are known to be part of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of [...]
Shortly after taking office, I joined other Cabinet officials on a visit to rural Southwest Alaska. We met with Alaska Native leaders and heard firsthand the difficulties facing Native Americans living in small communities in remote, rural areas. Since that time, this administration has worked each day to provide Native Americans with improved housing, better [...]
This week marked the sixth consecutive year tribal leaders have gathered here in Washington at the President’s invitation to meet with key members of the Obama Administration, but this time is different: more than three dozen youth ambassadors were in attendance to kick off “Generation Indigenous” (Gen-I) – a new initiative calling for programs focused [...]
Cooking knowledge, proper planning, and access to healthy foods are essential ingredients to healthy diets. I witnessed this firsthand when I traveled to the food distribution center of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, one of the 20 Indian Tribal Organizations that received funding in 2014 from USDA’s Food Distribution Program Nutrition Education (FDPNE) grants. [...]