The United States has made solemn promises to Tribal Nations for more than two centuries. The import of honoring these commitments in a meaningful way is brought into stark relief, as our Nation faces crises related to health, the economy, racial justice, and climate change — all of which disproportionately harm Native American communities.
On January 26, 2021 President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum that requires Federal agencies to prepare and periodically update a detailed plan of action to implement the policies and directives of Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments). At the Bureau of Land Management, we are consistently challenging ourselves to improve and build strong working relationships with Tribal Nations, help strengthen Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, and to uphold the trust and treaty responsibilities are paramount to fulfilling our mission. And we reaffirm that commitment.
For example, the BLM engaged in Tribal consultations regarding a review of the monument boundaries and conditions of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah. This review is important because national monument designations protect sacred Tribal lands, which are part of traditional land uses for many Native American communities. These consultations are just the beginning of a long, fruitful, and co-equal dialogue we anticipate having over the next several years. More information about ongoing consultations can be found here.
These efforts underscore our belief that the BLM has much to learn from Tribal Nations and strong communication is fundamental to a constructive relationship. We acknowledge that many Tribes regard certain public lands as a “living landscape” deeply steeped in Tribal history and traditions. Our approach to engaging with Tribal governments helps the BLM identify the cultural values, the religious beliefs, the traditional practices, places of value for subsistence practices, hunting, gathering and fishing rights, and the legal rights of Native American people, which could be affected by BLM actions on public lands.