On October 25, 2013, FEMA released a proposed Tribal Consultation Policy for Comments.  Comments are due March 3, 2014. Tribes know all too well that our communities have not received the level of attention that is necessary when emergencies or natural disasters hit.  We have an opportunity now to provide input on how FEMA talks to us so that when these types of situations come up, we know where to go to get the help we need.  See my “Art of Consultation” blog here for my thoughts on consultation and remember, as my mother always says “closed mouths don’t get fed.” We must participate in this process or risk getting left behind later. Please read the FEMA press release below.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Intergovernmental Affairs Division

Intergovernmental Affairs Advisory

October 25, 2013

FEMA Releases Proposed Tribal Consultation Policy for Comments

Today, FEMA is releasing the attached Proposed Tribal Consultation Policy for comment.  This policy will establish a process to guide FEMA officials on how to engage Indian tribes and Tribal Officials in consultation, and will affect the way that the agency will communicate and collaborate with tribal leaders on agency actions that have tribal implications.

In the attached letter, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate reiterated the agency’s commitment to engage in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with Tribal Officials, and to strengthen our government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes.

During the coming months, FEMA will be seeking Tribal comments as part of an extensive consultation period for the proposed policy.  Tribal input on the proposed policy are critical to our efforts in communicating and collaborating with tribes. Our Regional Tribal Liaisons will be in regular contact with Tribal Officials and Indian tribes across the country to answer any questions.

FEMA will accept comments from federally-recognized tribes until March 3, 2014.  Comments can be e-mailed to tribalconsultation@fema.dhs.gov or sent via regular mail to:

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Regulatory Affairs Division, Office of Chief Counsel

500 C Street SW, Room 8NE

Washington, DC 20472

If Tribal governments have any questions about the proposed policy or consultation process, please contact your Regional Tribal Liaison or Richard Flores, Special Advisor for National Tribal Affairs, at Richard.Flores@fema.dhs.gov.  You may also contact FEMA’s Intergovernmental Affairs Office at FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.