Bark welcomes you to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day by supporting key legislation that would empower Tribal Nations. The Requirements, Expectations, and Standard Procedures for Effective Consultation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act was proposed by Raúl M. Grijalva in May of 2021. This bill would require federal agencies to consult with Tribal governments before taking actions that would have significant impacts on Tribal lands or peoples.
The United States Government holds a “trust responsibility” to tribes—in tribal law terms this means that the United States “would respect the sovereignty of the tribes, would protect the tribes, and would provide for the well-being of the tribes” in exchange for tribal lands. This responsibility has very consistently not been met throughout U.S. history and the RESPECT Act would codify requirements for consultation.
Currently, tribal consultation is not a widespread practice in federal proceedings, especially in land management planning. Despite Indigenous peoples only making up 5% of the world’s population and caring for 80% of the Earth’s biodiversity, they are often not given the autonomy to make decisions about their own homelands nor does the Mt. Hood National Forest Plan consider Indigenous land stewardship practices.
The practice of consultation is instrumental to future land management practices and this method of action is skipped by institutions when working with Tribal Nations. Consultation and government-to-government relations are the bare minimum that federal and state entities can enforce, which can feel much like general land acknowledgements unsupported by direct action. Tribal co-management is integral to advocating for both Tribal sovereignty and traditional ecological knowledge. Land management processes cannot continue business as usual.
Al Rose, Native Communities Liaison, Diné (Navajo) & Karuk Tribes
P.S. Venmo, PayPal, Apple/Google Pay, CashApp a Native person $10 today! (Al’s Venmo is: @ndiyiliitsoh.)