Our renewed commitment to strengthening Tribal and Indigenous relationships through co-stewardship

Since the signing of joint-secretarial Executive Order 3403 in 2021, BLM-AK has engaged with Alaska Native groups by participating in on-going discussions to help define what Co-Stewardship means across Alaska’s expansive landscape, and BLM authorities therein. The Alaska Co-Stewardship initiative launched during the October 2022 Annual Alaska Federation of Natives Convention held in Anchorage and continued throughout the spring of 2023 where a road-series of many DOI federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture convened in various regional hub locations across the state.   

Alaska Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations historically have been overwhelmed with countless “Dear Tribal Leader” communications spanning multiple federal and state agencies with public comment and funding notifications or changes to regulatory code. Engaging in this initiative has provided for less formal consultations and increased information-sharing opportunities for federal agencies and Alaska Native leadership on important shared priorities and concerns for landscapes, habitat, and decision making which may impact critical habitats, natural resources or subsistence food priorities for many Alaskans. 

Tribal and ANCSA leadership, along with our federal agency partners, participated in several co-stewardship discussions in the communities of Anchorage, Bethel, Kotzebue, Glennallen, Fairbanks, and Juneau as well as a virtual meeting session. The amount of engagement has garnered the attention of numerous participants, non-profit non-government offices, Tribal leaders, ANCSA leadership, Tribal commissions and more who have shared their growing concerns over public land-use decisions by federal bodies. The work on refining co-stewardship opportunities, will result in a report to be shared with participants, the public and the Alaska Native community in the fall of 2023.

In addition, BLM-AK has drafted a working co-stewardship plan which captures projects and initiatives already working in practical application with Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and agencies spanning the public landscape. This plan includes improved accountability and responsiveness to sovereign nations.

Current examples of co-stewardship agreements include but are not limited to:

BLM understands capacity challenges due to the expansive landscape of responsibly managing public lands and wants to work collaboratively with our Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations. The key to ensuring future landscape resiliency and success in making durable land management decisions depends on knowledge and collaboration from our Indigenous stewards who depend on the landscape to prosper.  


Donna Bach

State Native Liaison 

(907) 271-6623,