Traditional Ecological Knowledge - Order and Policies

The term Traditional Ecological Knowledge, or TEK, is used to describe the knowledge held by indigenous cultures about their immediate environment and the cultural practices that build on that knowledge. Traditional ecological knowledge includes an intimate and detailed knowledge of plants, animals, and natural phenomena, the development and use of appropriate technologies for hunting, fishing, trapping, agriculture, and forestry, and a holistic knowledge, or "world view" which parallels the scientific discipline of ecology (Berkes 1993).

Secretarial Order 3206, Section 4
Sec. 4. Backeround. The unique and distinctive political relationship between the United States and Indian Tribes is defined by treaties, statutes, executive orders, judicial decisions, and agreements, and differentiates Tribes from other entities that deal with, or are affected by, the federal government. This relationship has given rise to a special federal trust responsibility, involving the legal responsibilities and obligations of the United States toward Indian Tribes and the application of fiduciary standards of due care with respect to Indian lands, Tribal trust resources, and the exercise of Tribal rights. Read More.

Secretarial Order 3206, Section 5
Sec. 5 American Indians and Alaska Natives. Climate change may disproportionately affect Tribes and their lands because they are heavily dependent on their natural resources for economic and cultural identity. As the Department has the primary trust responsibility for the Federal government for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Tribal lands and resources, the Department will ensure consistent and in-depth government-to-government consultation with Tribes and Alaska Natives on the Department's climate change initiatives. Tribal values are critical to determining what is to be protected, why, and how to protect the interests of their communities. The Department will support the use of the best available science, including traditional ecological knowledge, in formulating policy pertaining to climate change. The Department will also support substantive participation by Tribes in deliberations on climate-related mechanisms agreements, rules, and regulations. Read More.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Native American Policy
The Service will work directly with Native American governments and observe legislative mandates, trust responsibilities, and respect Native American cultural values when planning and implementing programs. The Service has developed and adopted this Policy to help accomplish its mission and concurrently to participate in fulfilling the Federal Government’s and the Department of the Interior’s trust responsibilities to assist Native Americans in protecting, conserving, and utilizing their reserved, treaty guaranteed, or statutorily identified trust assets. This Policy is consistent with Federal policy supporting Native American government self-determination. Read More.



Last updated: August 13, 2019