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Tribal Participation in ESA (fwd)




---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 09 Jul 97 10:07:19 -0700
From: rich_greenwood@mail.fws.gov

June 5, 1997                             Ken Burton  202-208-5634 
Kelly Lees  202-452-4883
     
NEW ENDANGERED SPECIES POLICY IS DESIGNED TO ENHANCE NATIVE AMERICAN 
PARTICIPATION
     
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Commerce Secretary William Daley today 
signed a joint Secretarial Order designed to clarify the responsibilities 
of both Departments when actions taken under authority of the Endangered 
Species Act involve Tribal land, Tribal trust resources, or Tribal rights. 
     
     
The order acknowledges the trust and treaty responsibilities and 
obligations of the United States to Native Americans and its 
government-to-government relationship with Tribes.
     
"This Secretarial Order is another important example of the ways the 
Clinton Administration is committed to making the Endangered Species Act 
more responsive to those it affects," said Interior Secretary Bruce 
Babbitt.  "For too long, we have not explored or clarified the trust and 
treaty relations with sovereign Indian Tribes and endangered species and we 
have failed to take advantage of the deep and sacred relationship with the 
land that Tribal governments can share.  This Order will not only give 
Tribes a seat at the table in the planning and consultation process, but an 
ability to lend their expertise and traditional knowledge to conserve and 
improve recovery for species with habitat on Indian lands."
     
The purpose of the order is to harmonize the Federal trust responsibility 
to Tribes, Tribal sovereignty, and statutory missions of the Departments. 
The order strives to ensure that Indian Tribes do not bear a 
disproportionate burden for the conservation of listed species on their 
lands.
     
The joint Secretarial order was developed with Tribal and Federal 
representatives over a period of approximately 6 months.  Representatives 
from various Tribal entities chosen by the Native American community, and 
from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other Federal agencies participated in the 
negotiations to develop the order.
     
"The Commerce Department is committed to strengthening its relationships 
with Native American Tribes.  Through this Order, the Department's National 
Marine Fisheries Service will work to enhance Native American involvement 
in endangered species recovery by bringing them into the process and 
utilizing their knowledge of the wildlife resources that exist on their 
lands," Commerce Secretary William M. Daley said. 
     
The joint order calls for both Departments to:
     
o    Work together to restore ecosystems and enhance Tribal management 
plans that affect listed species;
     
o    Work together to conserve and recover declining species;
     
o    Work together to create an environment of trust and respect for the 
missions of both the Departments and the Tribes for the ultimate benefit of 
sensitive species;
     
o    Consult with and use the expertise of affected Native American Tribal 
governments, including the use of traditional knowledge, when determining 
which species should be listed, conducting surveys on species populations, 
and implementing conservation measures;
     
o    Provide notification to, use the expertise of, and solicit information 
from affected Tribal governments when considering impacts to Tribal trust 
resources and Tribal lands;
     
o    Encourage and facilitate Tribal participation in ESA activities that 
may affect Tribal interests; and 
     
o    Provide deference to Tribal conservation plans for Indian lands that 
address the conservation needs of listed species.
     
The Departments and the Tribes recognize that the Secretarial Order does 
not change the legal mandates of the Endangered Species Act.  As 
administrators of the act, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National 
Marine Fisheries Service are further directed within the Appendix of the 
Order to recognize their special responsibility to include the Indian 
community in activities that may impact Tribal lands or Tribal trust 
resources.
     
This effort was begun, in large part, as a follow-up to the 
government-to-government relationship that the late Mollie Beattie, former 
Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, developed with Chairman Ronnie 
Lupe of the White Mountain Apache Tribe.  "The cooperative agreement 
concerning Endangered Species Act activities on Tribal land that Mollie 
worked out with Chairman Lupe served as a template and a catalyst for 
developing this order," said Babbitt.  "In some measure, this order is a 
result of her legacy to us to be mindful of our responsibilities to Indian 
people.  I think she would be proud of our accomplishment here today." 
     
Alaska Natives were not included in the order due to concerns about 
potential impacts to their subsistence exemption under the Endangered 
Species Act.  The order does, however, commit both Departments to address 
that issue and report their findings within 12 months.
     
The Secretaries of Interior and Commerce signed the order in today's 
ceremony, with Tribal leaders and representatives of both Departments and 
Native American interest groups in attendance.
     
-FWS-
     
     
     
     
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Date: Thur, 5 June 1997 10:00:00 -0600 (MDT) 
From: Mitch Snow <mitch_snow@mail.fws.gov>
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Subject: Tribal Participation in ESA
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