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 Alaska 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.
I recently traveled to New Mexico and Arizona to visit with local Navajo government leaders, Tribal College officials, and community members to hear about life on the Navajo Reservation. Michael Burns, from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was also there to discuss an important new collaboration, the College/Underserved Community Partnership Program (CUPP). CUPP develops partnerships [...]
Recently USDA Rural Development staff in South Dakota spent two days at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Sioux, where they met with Tribal leaders, educators and other Federal partners. They made this trip as part of a broader administration effort to change the way the federal government works with communities. This [...]
2015 was another banner year for innovative Federal / Tribal partnerships, government-to-government relations with Federally Recognized Tribes and investments that continue to improve the quality of life for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Here are five examples from this past year of ways USDA and this Administration have built on their deep commitment to improving [...]
USDA scientists work 365 days to provide safe and sustainable food, water, and natural resources in the face of a changing climate and uncertain energy sources. To recognize the contribution that agricultural science and research makes in our daily lives, this week’s “Banner Year” series features stories from 2015 that show the successes that USDA [...]