Native American Affairs

Consultation Resources and Reference Materials

The DoD makes good faith efforts to build effective relationships with federally recognized Indian tribes and meet its responsibilities to meaningfully consult with these tribes on proposed military training and construction actions, plans, or ongoing activities that may have the potential to significantly affect protected tribal lands, cultural properties, or tribal treaty rights.  In that spirit, the DoD routinely consults with Indian tribes on land-disturbing activities, training, over-flights, the management of properties of traditional religious and cultural importance, the protection of sacred sites from vandalism and other damages, access to sacred sites and treaty-reserved resources, tribal reserved treaty rights, access to subsistence resources, land use decisions, and construction.

Visit the Policy, Laws, and Regulations page for more information on DoD and Military Department policies and laws concerning consultation.

Consultation Resources

In November 2021, the Administration announced that 17 federal agencies signed the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Interagency Coordination and Collaboration for the Protection of Tribal Treaty and Reserved Rights (MOU). In the MOU, the agencies committed to enhance efforts to integrate consideration of Tribal treaty and reserved rights early into agency decision-making and regulatory processes, and to strengthen consultation policies in this regard.  These new standards for Tribal consultation are outlined in this memorandum.

In November 2022, the Administration announced a new Presidential Memorandum on Uniform Standards for Tribal Consultation. These new standards for Tribal consultation are incorporated into this Best Practices document.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued this guidance to assist Federal Departments and Agencies in understanding Indigenous Knowledge.

Consultation Best Practices Flow Chart created by the Working Group of the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Interagency Coordination and Collaboration for the Protection of Tribal Treaty and Reserved Rights.

Tribal Engagement Guidebook
This guidebook was developed by the DoD Legacy Resource Management Program. The goal of this guidebook is to improve DoD consistency in the successful engagement with federally recognized tribes.

Honoring Original Indigenous Inhabitants: Land Acknowledgement
Land acknowledgment is a traditional custom that dates back centuries in many Native nations and communities. Today, land acknowledgments are used by Native Peoples and non-Natives to recognize Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of the lands on which we now live.  This handout was developed by the National Museum of the American Indian.

This resource, developed for use in the DoD American Indian Communications and Consultation Course, provides procedural guidance to consider when planning and organizing a consultation.

This resource, developed for use in the DoD American Indian Communications and Consultation Course, provides an in-depth review of the Consultation Process.

This report was prepared by the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, Indigenous Peoples Subcommittee, a Federal Advisory Committee to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This resource, developed for use in the DoD American Indian Communications and Consultation Course, provides an example template that DoD Components or Installations may use when establishing consultation efforts with a tribal nation.

Historical Resources

Developed by Professor Gregory Silverman, Faculty Director, Center for Indian Law and Policy, Seattle University School of Law for an Executive Briefing for the Navy Region Northwest on September 22, 2021. This presentation provides an overview of Indian Treaties in the region and their legal significance today.

Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the US and American Indians – Smithsonian Exhibition
Treaties—solemn agreements between sovereign nations—lie at the heart of the relationship between Indian Nations and the United States. Native Nations made treaties with one another long before Europeans came to the Western Hemisphere. The United States began making treaties with Native Peoples because they were independent nations. Often broken, sometimes coerced, treaties still define mutual obligations between the United States and Indian Nations. The eight treaties featured in Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations, on loan from the National Archives and Records Administration, are representative of the approximately 374 that were ratified between the United States and Native Nations.

This resource, developed by Ralph Reeser and Native American Technologies, Inc., provides a summary of important events in history of American Indians and Alaska Natives in relation to the DoD and its precursor agencies.

On May 28, 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, beginning the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans in what became known as the Trail of Tears.  This map shows the routes of the five southeastern tribes that were forced to leave their homelands in the Southeast and live in Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma.

Full Text of this historic Act to provide for the allotment of lands in severalty to Indians on various reservations.

Excerpts of Early Judicial Cases

The history of Indian law in the Supreme Court opens with the Marshall Trilogy: Johnson v. Mc’Intosh (1823); Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831); and Worcester v. Georgia (1832). The Trilogy, primarily authored by Chief Justice John Marshall, established federal primacy in Indian affairs, excluded state law from Indian country, and recognized tribal governance authority. Moreover, these cases established the place of Indian nations in the American dual sovereign structure that still governs today.

A landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that interpreted the Doctrine of Discovery in the United States. It held that private citizens could not purchase lands from Native Americans.

The Cherokee Nation sought a federal injunction against laws passed by the state of Georgia depriving them of rights within its boundaries, but the U.S. Supreme Court did not hear the case on its merits. It ruled that it had no original jurisdiction in the matter, as the Cherokees were a “domestic dependent nation,” with a relationship to the United States like that of a “ward to its guardian.”

The opinion is most famous for its dicta, which laid out the relationship between tribes and the state and federal governments. It is considered to have built the foundations of the doctrine of tribal sovereignty in the United States.

This resource, developed by the DoD Native American Affairs team for the DoD American Indian Cultural Communications and Consultation Course, provides a list of key laws, orders, policies, guidance, and regulations pertaining to consultation and cultural resource management.

This resource, developed by the DoD Native American Affairs team for the DoD American Indian Cultural Communications and Consultation Course, provides and overview of laws that elicit the use of consultation.

This resource, developed by the DoD Office of General Counsel for the DoD American Indian Cultural Communications and Consultation Course, depicts the relationship of trust responsibilities and scenarios where they typically apply.

Reports and Reference Materials

Building Resilience to Climate Change Through Off-Base Natural Infrastructure Solutions
A guide for installations and partners developed by the DoD Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI).

Army ArcGIS Cultural Resources Story Map (May 2021)
The Army has an immense responsibility to protect and preserve the many types of cultural resources on our military installations. The Army protects historic properties which includes buildings, structures, archeological sites, objects, districts, and landscapes managed under the National Historic Preservation Act. Additionally, the Army protects many other cultural resources including Native American and Native Hawaiian sacred sites, other traditional and cultural properties and items, and archeological artifact collections and associated records.

The focus of this handbook is tribal consultation in the Section 106 review process. It is intended to be a reference for federal agency staff responsible for compliance with Section 106. Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) and tribal cultural resource managers may also find this handbook helpful.

DoD Resources

This report presents a model of 14 best practices that Cultural Resource Managers and Natural Resource Managers at DoD installations in any geographic region can use to assist them in matters related to consultation and the management of natural resources, or rather traditional, customary, or religious resources of importance to affiliated Indian tribes. The best practices model within this document represents a process for working with Indian people to identify natural resources of concern to them.

This Desk Guide serves as a helpful tool for Military Installations and federally recognized tribes located in the South and Eastern United States.

This Desk Guide serves as a helpful tool for Military Installations and federally recognized tribes located in the South and Eastern United States.

This 336-page report, developed for the DoD by Vine Deloria, Jr., The University of Colorado, and Richard W. Stoffle, The University of Arizona, is about Native Americans and their cultural resource relationships with the DoD. Native Americans, as both citizens and members of dependent nations within the United States and as original occupants of lands that are currently held by the DoD, have a special cultural relationship with these military lands.

Chapter 5 of the Native American Sacred Sites and the Department of Defense report (above) presents a consultation model and describes nine ideal steps for developing a consultation relationship with Native Americans who are culturally affiliated with lands held by a DoD Installation.

This report identifies DoD installation obligations arising from treaties and agreements negotiated by the United States and Indian nations between 1775 and 1954.

3Rs (Recognize, Retreat, Report) Explosives Safety Education Program
This website examines who, what, when, where, why, and how of Military munitions and safety procedures.

This factsheet helps establish a methodology for geophysical testing and chemical sampling with sufficient accuracy to determine if burial or other archeological materials are not present.

Other Agency Resources

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Section 106 Consultation Guidance and Resources
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is an independent federal agency that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation’s historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. The ACHP strives to ensure federal agencies implement their work in harmony with the National Historic Preservation Act. Section 106 requires federal agencies to consider the effects of projects they carry out, approve, or fund on historic properties. Visit the link above for ACHP’s published regulations that guide federal agencies and other participants in the Section 106 process and other resources.

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Federal Preservation Officer (EPO) List
To identify a specific Federal Preservation Officer, review this list provided by ACHP. Many of the links also offer information on the agency’s staff contacts, cultural resource policies, related Section 106 issues, and links to its website.

Desk guide prepared by The Institute for Tribal Government, The Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, College of Urban and Public Affairs Portland State University. This guide is for use by tribal governments and military commanders. Section III, in particular, provides tools that will help tribal governments and all military branches communicate more effectively on issues of mutual concern, especially with respect to activities that may affect tribal lands and resources.

Tribal Leaders Directory
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) compiled directory of Tribal Leaders and BIA officials.

This report, developed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and The National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, is intended to be an aid in determining whether properties thought or alleged to have traditional cultural significance are eligible for inclusion in the National Register.

Alaska Natives Resources