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.
The land and our strong ties to the earth as humans are a source of culture and livelihood throughout Indian Country. Native youth carry the hopes of their ancestors forward, and many tribes have visited with me at the Office of Tribal Relations, interested in learning how their children and grandchildren can discover more about [...]
Recently, ninety Alaska Native, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian high school students came together at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia for a week of intensive education and peer-to-peer training about the impact of climate change on tribal communities. Organized by the Inter-Tribal Youth Climate Leaders Congress and supported by a partnership [...]
The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation sits in rural Central Michigan about 90 minutes northwest of Flint. One of the newest business enterprises to open on Reservation is the Native Farmers Market. I was there for the groundbreaking with Tribal Chief Steve Pego, and other tribal members to represent USDA’s investment in this exciting project. USDA [...]
At age 18, Dakota Williams knows exactly what she wants to do with her life — own a farm and raise cattle. “[Farming] is all I’ve ever known. I’m a third generation farmer, working the same land as my grandparents and I don’t want to see it end,” said Dakota. A member of the Cherokee [...]