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Working with Native American Tribes

Conserving this nation’s fish and other aquatic resources cannot be successful without the partnership of tribes that may manage or influence some of the most important aquatic habitats both on and off reservations. In addition, the federal government and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have distinct and unique obligations toward tribes based on trust responsibility, treaty provisions, and statutory mandates.

The Service plays an important role in providing help and support to tribes as they exercise their sovereignty in the management of their fish and wildlife resources on more than 55 million acres of Federal Indian trust land and in treaty-reserved areas.

The Service is committed to working with tribes to continue this legacy of conservation and renewed this commitment in 2016 with the release of the revised Native American Policy.

The Native American Liaison provides communication and support to tribes and tribal organizations to promote cooperative fish and wildlife activities. The liaison also works with Service staff in our field offices to facilitate government-to-government consultation.

Working with tribes in the Southeast, the Service has

  • Restored river and stream banks;
  • Restored land to native vegetations;
  • Repaired and provided fish for a tribal trout hatchery;
  • Increased boat access;
  • Provided grant funding through the Tribal Wildlife Grants program to 10 federally-recognized tribes in the region.
Children at a primary school dressed in native american clothing
Children from Choctaw Central Schools near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Photo by Tami A. Heilemann, Department of the Interior.

Federally Recognized Southeastern Tribes

For more information on American Indian tribes, visit the Bureau of Indian Affairs website.

Tribal Wildlife Grants

The Service provides a competitive funding opportunity for federally recognized tribal governments 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 may or may not be not hunted or fished.

Migratory Bird and Eagle Permits

For hundreds of years, Native Americans have used eagle parts and feathers for religious and cultural purposes, including healing, marriage, and naming ceremonies. Recognizing the significance of eagles to Native Americans, the Service established the National Eagle Repository to provide Native Americans with the carcasses, parts and feathers of golden and bald eagles for religious purposes.

Policies

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when an Indian tribe is federally recognized?

The term “federally recognized tribe” refers to an Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges as an Indian tribe pursuant to the Federally Recognized Indian List Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C. 479a).

Where do I go to legally obtain eagle feathers?

Only Native Americans may possess a bald or golden eagle, including its parts (feathers, feet, etc.). The distribution of bald and golden eagles and their parts to Native Americans is authorized by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and regulations found in 50 CFR 22. Qualified (i.e., enrolled members of a federally-recognized tribe) Native Americans wishing to obtain bald or golden eagles or their parts must submit an application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office. The completed application is sent to the National Eagle Repository and the order is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual requests for whole eagles can take up to three and a half years before one becomes available, while a request for individual feathers may be obtained in just a few months. To find out more information about obtaining eagles you can contact the Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office (see below) or visit the Service’s website.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Permit Office P.O. Box 779 Hadley, MA 01035-0779 Tel. (413) 253-8643 Fax (413) 253-8424

Is there a local Service “point of contact” for the individual Native American tribes in our region for activities in the respective states?

Yes. The list represents the Service personnel who are the respective Native American tribe’s “point of contact.” The designated individual Service contact is familiar with the respective Tribe’s culture, political function and natural resource programs. To obtain a copy of the Service contacts please contact Southeast Region Native American Liaison Timothy Binzen at this address:

Contact

Are you a member of a federally-recognized tribe? Contact our Native American Liaison for more information ways we could work together:

Timothy Binzen

timothy_binzen@fws.gov Phone: 413-253-8731

Contact Us:

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