Images via National Archives, National Digital Library-USFWS and USGS.

Tribal Partnerships Program

Photo Credit: USFWS

Native American tribes are among the Service's most important conservation partners. There are 127 federally-recognized tribes in Region 8: 107 in California, 19 in Nevada and 1 in the Klamath Basin. As managers of important land and water resources, tribes have a significant role in the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin. In the Pacific Southwest Region, effective relationship building and liaison with tribes is established first locally, at our field offices in California, Nevada and Klamath Basin. Tribes are encouraged to first contact the nearest regional Fish and Wildlife Office for questions concerning federal fish and wildlife regulations, tribal consultation issues or partnership opportunities.


An important component of Tribal Partnerships is the Tribal Wildlife Grant Program (TWG). These grants provide funding to federally-recognized tribes to develop and implement programs for the benefit of wildlife and their habitat, including species of Native American cultural or traditional importance and species that are not hunted or fished. The grants have enabled tribes to develop increased management capacity, improve and enhance relationships with partners including State agencies, address cultural and environmental priorities, and heighten interest of tribal students in fisheries, wildlife and related fields of study. Some grants have been awarded to enhance recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced more than $2.03 million in 2011 Tribal Wildlife Grants that will go to 11 Native American Tribes in the Pacific Southwest Region to fund a wide range of conservation projects. Nationwide, more than $54 million has gone to Native American tribes through the Tribal Wildlife Grants program since 2003, providing support for 335 conservation projects administered by participating Federally-recognized tribes.

The grants provide technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of projects that benefit fish and wildlife resources and their habitat, including non-game species. The grants have enabled tribes to develop increased management capacity, improve and enhance relationships with partners (including state agencies), address cultural and environmental priorities and heighten tribal students' interest in fisheries, wildlife and related fields of study.


The Native American Policy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service articulates the general principles that guide our government-to-government relationships with Indian Tribes in the conservation of fish and wildlife resources. The conservation values and partnerships that we share with Indian Tribes help the Service to accomplish its mission and fulfill our Federal and Departmental trust responsibilities to Native Americans.
Download the Service's Native American Policy (3.5mb .pdf)

Other Resources:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Native American Liaison
Federally Recognized Tribes in Region 8 (46kb, PDF)

Federally Recognized Tribes in the United States (106kb .pdf)
Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments (pdf)
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Native American Fish and Wildlife Society 


Federal law provides for the use of eagle feathers for religious purposes by Native Americans. Eagles and eagle feathers are made available to Native Americans through the National Eagle Repository. Tribal members in California and Nevada must first obtain a permit from the Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office.

Permits are issued to adult members (18+ years old) of a federally recognized tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community recognized by, and eligible to receive services from, the Bureau of Indian Affairs.Download the permit information and application forms.

More information about obtaining eagle parts and feathers is available on theService's Law Enforcement website.

Obtaining Non-Eagle Feathers

Information about how members of federally-recognized Tribes can obtain feathers, parts, or carcasses of non-eagle/migratory birds (i.e. hawks, falcons) for religious and cultural purposesis available here.

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