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ACF Establishes New Agency-Wide Tribal Consultation Policy

July 20, 2011
Officials from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and representatives from 42 North American tribes attended the signing of the ACF tribal consultation policy on August 18, 2011 that sets official protocol on how the agency engages tribes in consultation on legislation, regulations and policies that affect the services delivered to federally recognized tribes.

ACF operates 65 social service programs on a $58.8 billion budget. These programs promote the economic and social well-being of children, youth and families. ACF also focuses its attention on vulnerable populations that includes Native Americans. Included within ACF’s 17 major bureaus that carry out its programs is the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), which took the lead in formulating the agency’s first-ever tribal consultation policy.

“We are very happy and proud that ACF was able to work with Indian tribes to get this policy created and issued within one year,” said Lillian Sparks, ANA Commissioner. “It is an accomplishment that ACF has such great relationships with our tribes.”

Previously, outside of the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy, ACF lacked a consultation protocol with tribes in the development of new or revised policies, regulations or legislation. Tribal government representatives approached ACF to address this issue.

To address this concern, Representatives from tribes met with ACF staff over the summer of 2010 to discuss how ACF consults with Indian tribes. Prior to this meeting ACF relied on policy guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This effort to establish a more formal policy was in direct response to Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments and the President’s memorandum on Tribal Consultation issued by President Barack Obama in November 2009. After four months of discussion including consultation and internal review, a policy specific to ACF programs was listed in the federal register for a 45-day comment period in December 2010.

The final product is a clear channel of communication that lays out who responds on behalf of the agency, a timeline for responses and where the communication takes place with tribal leaders.

In late August, Acting Assistant Secretary George Sheldon signed the consultation policy at a ceremony with tribal leaders, who were in Washington, D.C., to participate in the ACF 2011 Tribal consultation.

Tribes Represented (Federally Recognized)

  1. Acoma Pueblo
  2. Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
  3. Cherokee Nation Human Services
  4. Chickasaw Nation
  5. Chippewa Cree Tribe
  6. Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  7. Citizen Pottawatomi Nation
  8. Colorado River Indian Tribe
  9. Hopi Tribe
  10. Karuk Tribe
  11. Kaw Nation
  12. Lac Courte Oreilles
  13. Lummi Indian Business Council
  14. Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama
  15. Muscogee (Creek) Nation
  16. Navajo Nation
  17. North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California
  18. Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
  19. Owens Valley Career Development Center
  20. Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
  21. Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
  22. Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe
  23. Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
  24. Pueblo de San Ildefonso
  25. Pueblo of Zuni
  26. Quinault Indian Nation
  27. Round Valley Indian Tribes
  28. Sac and Fox Nation
  29. San Carlos Apache Tribe
  30. Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
  31. Shinnecock Nation
  32. The Chickasaw Nation
  33. The Hopi Tribe
  34. The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
  35. Ramona Band of Indians
  36. Cahuilla Band of Indians
  37. Torres Martinez Tribal
  38. Tulalip Tribes
  39. Washoe Tribe of NV & CA
  40. White Mountain Apache Tribe
  41. Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo


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