New Journal Article on the Past, Present, and Potential Future of Tribal Co-Management on Federal Public Lands


Deep ancestral and traditional connections tie many Native Nations to the federal government’s public lands. The removal of these lands from indigenous control, their acquisition by the federal government, and the federal government’s approach to their management are largely premised upon the erasure or marginalization of those connections. Both physically and legally, Indian tribes have been removed from the landscapes they occupied since time immemorial. Rather than centering, honoring, and using those connections, the current discussion of tribal co-management of federal public lands is mostly bereft of this full legal and historical context.

Compounding these limitations is the considerable discretion enabled by the applicable legal framework and exercised by public land management agencies. This discretion is most often used in ways that place Indian tribes in a reactive and defensive position. Furthermore, in exercising that discretion, federal public land management agencies regularly disassociate their land management activities from their interactions with tribes, viewing the former as a priority and the latter as an additional burden or only ancillary to their mission. In order to reconnect the management of public lands to the broader legal and historical context, these agencies must be compelled—through statute or Executive action—to work with tribes on a co-management basis, in the same manner as they are compelled to fulfill their other obligations and priorities in managing and protecting the lands for which they are responsible.

Furthermore, federal public land law generally provides to state governments and private interests broad powers and authorities not yet extended to Indian tribes. The intergovernmental dimensions of federal public lands management must more fully recognize the federal government’s fiduciary obligations to Indian tribes and include sovereign tribal governments. The common tools used in “cooperative federalism” can help inform the design of tribal co-management legislation and/or rulemaking


Thursday, August 4

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Wednesday, August 3

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Tuesday, August 2

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7:30 am
Registration (Location: Sequoia)

9:00 am
Posting of Colors (Location: Grand Peninsula Ballroom)

9:05 am
Welcome & Opening Prayer

9:10 am
Time of Reflection

9:25 am
Welcome & Opening Message from SGCETC Board of Directors 

9:30 am
Welcome from Tribal Nations within California and Discussion of Hot  Topics

10:15 am
Discussion with Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland

10:30 am

10:45 am
Establishing the Bay Area American Indian Cultural District

11:00 am
COVID Update and Indian Health Service Initiatives to Improve Health and Wellbeing

11:30 am
International Decade (2022 – 2032) of Indigenous Language Preservation

11:45 am
Lunch Break

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Breakout Sessions

 2:00 pm – 2:15 pm
Networking Break

2:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Breakout Sessions

3:30 pm- 3:45 pm

3:45 pm
Threats to Tribal Sovereignty: Protecting the Indian Child Welfare Act

(Location: Grand Peninsula Ballroom)

4:05 pm
Self-Governance Updates from DOI, IHS, and DOT

4:45 pm
Tiwahe Initiative – Federal Updates


Additional Meetings and Activities

11:30 am – 5:00 pm
DOI SGDB Training Room (Sand Pebble D)

11:30 am – 5:00 pm
Individual Meetings with OSG Staff- Open (Board Rooms 3 & 4)

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Tribal Caucus for the Food Distribution Program for Indian Reservations Consultation Meeting (Cypress A)