Last week, President Biden signed a Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships. In the memorandum, President Biden says “It is a priority of my Administration to make respect for Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, commitment to fulfilling Federal trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations, and regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal Nations cornerstones of Federal Indian policy.” The memo also reaffirms Executive Order 13175, which “charges all executive departments and agencies with engaging in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have Tribal implications.”
“Signing the memo so early in his Administration is an encouraging sign and a clear commitment that the federal government intends to engage in productive ways with Indian Country,” said Tony Franco, Managing Partner at PilieroMazza. For instance, Section 1 of the memo states “My Administration is committed to honoring Tribal sovereignty and including Tribal voices in policy deliberation that affects Tribal communities. The Federal Government has much to learn from Tribal Nations and strong communication is fundamental to a constructive relationship.”
In addition to the memo, President Biden recently nominated Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), a member of the Laguna Pueblo, as Secretary of the Interior. If confirmed, she will be the first Native American Interior Secretary and Cabinet official, and will oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other agencies impacting Tribes.
“History demonstrated that we best serve Native American people when Tribal governments are empowered to lead their communities, and when federal officials speak with and listen to Tribal leaders in formulating federal policy that affects Tribal Nations,” the memo says.
The PilieroMazza team will continue to monitor and report on how the policies from the new Administration will impact our clients who are owned and operated by tribal entities.