US Department of Labor Releases Proposed Tribal Consultation Policy

The U.S. Department of Labor today published in the Federal Register a proposed tribal consultation policy, creating a formal process through which the department will engage in consultation with federally recognized tribes on actions or policies that will have a significant impact on tribal nations. This policy would apply to any department action that affects federally recognized Indian tribes and requires that the department's government-to-government consultation involve both appropriate tribal and department officials.

"The development of the Labor Department's tribal consultation policy honors the relationship between the Native American community and the U.S. government, thanks to the president's leadership calling for ongoing engagement with tribal nations and communities," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This policy aims to strengthen the U.S. government's interactions with sovereign tribal nations. We look forward to receiving feedback and implementing the policy."

On Nov. 9, 2009, President Obama cited Executive Order 13175, which was issued by President Clinton, tasking executive branch departments and agencies with engaging tribal nations to formalize federal programs that impact tribal communities.

Following the president's charge, the Department of Labor began devising a plan. A series of consultative listening sessions, including meetings with representatives of the Native American community, the department's Native American Employment and Training Council, and the National Congress of American Indians, preceded the finalization of the tribal consultation policy proposed today.

A public comment period will end June 18. Following the comment period, the department will evaluate comments for prospective changes to the proposed policy. To view the proposal and submit comments, click HERE.

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