The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps or USACE) Regulatory Program recognizes the sovereign status of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Governments (Tribes), and our obligation for meaningful consultation on a Government-to-Government basis if a federal action may affect historic properties, including sites of traditional religious or cultural significance to Tribes, in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The Walla Walla District fully supports tribal self-governance and government-to-government relations between federally recognized Tribes and the Federal government. Tribes with protected rights or resources that could be significantly affected by a proposed Federal action (e.g., a permit decision) have the right to consult with the Walla Walla District on a government-to-government basis.
American Indian Tribal relationships are based on historical activities such as treaties, and laws and regulations set forth by Congress which address Tribal issues. American Indian treaties were not a granting of rights to American Indians, but a protection and preservation of land and certain rights for them. Treaties with Tribes are equal to Federal laws passed by Congress. As a federal agency, the Corps has Federal Trust Responsibility which is a legal term that signifies our obligation to ensure Indian rights as part of our permit application review.
Views of each Tribe regarding protected rights and resources will be accorded due to considerations in this process. Tribes are invited to actively participate in the Federal decision-making process regarding protected tribal rights and resources. Consultation may be initiated by a Tribe upon written request to the District Commander.
Depending on the location and scope of your work, we may have to consult with one or more Tribes as part of the application review process (Tribal AOI Map). Consultation with these Tribes may be informal or formal process of negotiation, cooperation or discussions between an American Indian Tribe and the Corps. Once initiated, consultation must be completed before we can finalize a permit decision.
Consultation is defined in the Corps Tribal Consultation Policy as, “Open, timely, meaningful, collaborative and effective deliberative communication process that emphasizes trust, respect and shared responsibility. To the extent practicable and permitted by law, consultation works toward mutual consensus and begins at the earliest planning stages, before decisions are made and actions are taken; an active and respectful dialogue concerning actions taken by the USACE that may significantly affect tribal resources, tribal rights (including treaty rights) or Indian lands.”
Walla Walla District Tribal Liaison Mission
For additional information, please contact the Walla Walla District Tribal Liaison at (509) 527-7240.