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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
REGION 8: Training Provides Leaders With Knowledge of Tribal Trust Responsibilities
Region 8, March 12, 2009
Bob Miller, Indian Law professor at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore.(left) presents the history of Indian law in the United States during tribal trust training March 11, 2009 in San Diego, Calif. (photo: Tom MacKenzie)
Bob Miller, Indian Law professor at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore.(left) presents the history of Indian law in the United States during tribal trust training March 11, 2009 in San Diego, Calif. (photo: Tom MacKenzie) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Scott Flaherty, External Affairs

Approximately 100 project leaders, program assistant regional directors and other employees from the Pacific Southwest Region gained knowledge of the Service’s government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes during two days of  tribal trust training March 11-12, 2009, in San Diego, Calif.

 

As domestic independent nations, tribal governments exercise inherent sovereign powers over their members and lands. The instructive training provided regional leaders and managers with a historical and legal framework of Indian affairs in the United States with a focus on the Service’s responsibilities to consult and coordinate with tribes on resource conservation issues.

 

“We are here today because consulting and working with tribes on conservation issues is not only important, it’s our job,” said Ren Lohoefener, regional director of the Pacific Southwest Region.

 

Day one featured an informative day-long presentation by Bob Miller, Indian Law professor at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore. Miller’s presentation demonstrated how federal agencies’ responsibilities to tribes are founded on a succession of laws, treaties, executive orders, court decisions and federal policies, some of which date back to the early settlement of North America.

 

Roy Sampsel, executive director of the Institute for Tribal Government, Hatfield School of Government in Portland, Ore., moderated both days of training. Sampsel shared his knowledge and first-hand experiences with tribal issues during his years as a deputy assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior in the early 1980s, and as a special assistant to the Secretary of Interior during the mid-1970s.

 

Dick Trudell, executive director of the American Indian Lawyer Training Program in Oakland, Calif., spoke about issues pertaining to Indian law in California and Nevada, and offered perspectives on future government-to-government relations.   Dan Jordan of the Hoopa tribe of California provided a tribal perspective on water issues related to the Trinity River in northern California.

 

The tribal trust training was based on an innovative tribal trust training program developed last year by the Pacific Region (Region 1) in Portland, Oregon. The training has become a course offering of the Service’s National Conservation Training Center. The San Diego session was a collaborative effort involving the Region 1 Native American Liaison Pat Gonzales-Rogers, Region 8 External Affairs Office, and Dixie Ward of the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office.

 

The Pacific Southwest Region is home to 127 federally- recognized tribes, more than any other Service Region. During Fiscal Year 2008, the Region provided Tribal Wildlife Grants totaling more than $690,000 to five tribes in California and one tribe in Nevada. More information about the Region’s Tribal Partnership Program is available on the web at: http://www.fws.gov/cno/conservation/tribalprogram.cfm

 

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov