Conserving this Nation’s fish and other aquatic resources cannot be successful without the partnership of Tribes; they manage or influence some of the most important aquatic habitats both on and off reservations. In addition, the Federal government and the Service have distinct and unique obligations toward Tribes based on trust responsibility, treaty provisions, and statutory mandates.
Laverdure Announces Listening Sessions Regarding
Sacred Sites on Federal Lands
Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Donald E. “Del” Laverdure today announced that the U.S. Department of the Interior will conduct a series of listening sessions with federally-recognized tribes regarding American Indian sacred sites located on federal lands.
“It is critical that we listen to tribal people about sensitive and significant cultural issues concerning sacred sites,” said Laverdure. “Our nation-to-nation relationship is one that is based upon mutual respect, and that includes an on-going dialogue about places central to Indian identity and cultural ways of life.”
The Obama Administration recognizes that the protection of sacred sites on federal lands is integral to traditional religious practices, tribal identities and emblematic of sovereign tribal nations. These sacred site listening sessions are intended to assist in developing policies that result in effective, comprehensive and long-lasting federal protection of, and tribal access to, the places that are so important to the fabric and culture of tribal nations.
To address tribal concerns regarding sacred sites issues, Interior will conduct listening sessions on sacred sites in general, as well as knowledge relating to specific sites on Interior-managed tribal trust and other federal lands. The Department will be better equipped to make decisions that are sensitive to the ceremonial use and physical integrity of sacred sites through the benefit of tribal input and views on such matters.
“We invite recognized leaders of tribal governments and, if a tribe so elects, extend the invitation to designated spiritual leaders granted authority by the recognized tribal leadership to participate as tribal officials.” Laverdure said. “Tribal leaders have worked very hard with Interior in the past on these issues and we acknowledge their tireless efforts and hard work.”
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