I had the honor a few weeks ago of speaking to the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. It was important for me to go out there and meet with members of the Native American conservation community because Tribes deserve a seat at the table where conservation decisions are made and priorities set. And to form that kind of true partnership, we must develop a relationship based on trust and shared values. I hope my visit helped that process.
We need to work together toward a lasting impact on the landscape. No one – not the Fish and Wildlife Service nor any other organization – is large enough to make a true difference acting alone.
We do already work together. Native American Tribes have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us on many successes. The White Mountain Apache Tribe has helped with the Apache trout in Arizona. The Nez Perce were integral to returning gray wolves to the Northern Rocky Mountains in Idaho.