Tribal Consultation and Coordination

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recognizes the sovereign status of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Governments (Tribes), and our legal obligation for meaningful pre-decisional consultation on our activities. 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 dialog concerning actions taken by the USACE that may significantly affect tribal resources, tribal rights (including treaty rights) or Indian lands.”

Pre-Decisional Consultation 

Consultation occurs on a Government-to-Government basis by law and at Tribal request. Tribes with protected rights or resources that could be affected by any proposed Federal action (e.g., reservoir erosion from dam operations or a permit decision) have the right to consult with the Walla Walla District on a government-to-government basis. Consultation is initiated by USACE as early as possible in the planning process. The starting point for effective future consultations is routine and ongoing coordination at the technical level, which can be elevated to consultation at Tribal request.

Treaties and Trust Responsibility

Tribal relationships are based on legal and historical activities such as treaties, and laws and regulations that are set forth by Congress to address Tribal matters of importance to their communities. American Indian treaties are not a granting of rights to American Indians, but a recognition of pre-existing rights and the protection and preservation actions necessary to observe those rights. Treaties with Tribes are equal to Federal laws passed by Congress. As a federal agency, USACE has Federal Trust Responsibility, a legal term that signifies our obligation to ensure the protection of tribal and individual Indian lands, assets, resources, and treaty and similarly recognized rights. Views of each Tribe regarding protected rights and resources are accorded due to considerations in this process.

Tribal Self-Governance and Partnerships

Consultation with Tribes within the Walla Walla District’s Civil Works and Regulatory boundaries (please see map) is achieved through a formal process of negotiation, cooperation, and discussions. The Walla Walla District is fully committed to supporting tribal self-governance through government-to-government relations between federally recognized Tribes and the Federal government.

Walla Walla District Tribal Liaison

For additional information, please contact Dr. Pei-Lin Yu, Walla Walla District Tribal Liaison, at or (509) 527-7240.