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Working Together with Indian Country

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Photo of Senior Adviser Dee Alexander

Guest blog post by Dee Alexander, Commerce's Senior Adviser on Native American Affairs

Last month, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank signed the “Tribal Consultation and Coordination Policy," (PDF) which establishes the manner in which the Department works with federally-recognized Indian tribes when developing Department policies that have tribal implications.

The Consultation Policy follows from President Obama’s Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation from November 2009 which strengthens former President Bill Clinton’s Executive Order on “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (PDF). Upon signing, President Obama stated the importance of the Presidential Memorandum: “History has shown that failure to include the voices of tribal officials in formulating policy affecting their communities has all too often led to undesirable and, at times, devastating and tragic results. By contrast, meaningful dialogue between Federal officials and tribal officials has greatly improved Federal policy toward Indian tribes.

As Senior Adviser to the Commerce Secretary for Native American Affairs, I have been working with a team of representatives from each of Commerce’s 12 bureaus that interact with federally-recognized tribes in order to craft the Policy. The development of the final Policy would also not have been possible without the input from tribal leaders and representatives, who provided input through several national webinars and a public comment period following a Federal Register notice last year.

Acting Secretary Blank recently notified the leaders (PDF) of the 566 federally recognized tribes of the signing of the Policy and thanked them for their participation and input in this process. I look forward to continuing the government-to-government relationships that have been developed throughout this process, which are crucial to the mission of the Department of Commerce in promoting job creation, economic growth, and supporting tribes in their development of their own strong and stable communities that will be able to participate in the national and global marketplace.

For more information about the Department of Commerce’s efforts to work with tribes, visit http://www.commerce.gov/office-secretary/native-american-affairs, or call 202-482-0789.

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