April 30, 2013
Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program
Federal Highway Administration/Federal Transit Administration
Jared Fijalkowski: Good afternoon. On behalf of the Federal Highway Administration, I would like to welcome everyone to today's webinar, the second of five transportation planning module series webinars. Today's webinar will focus on Tribal consultation. My name is Jared Fijalkowski, I'm with the USDOT's Volpe Center, and I will be moderating today's webinar along with the assistance of my colleague, Jesse Cohn.
Before we begin, I would like to point out a few features of our webinar room. On the bottom left is a chat box you can use to submit questions to presenters throughout the webinar. We will answer questions at the end of the presentation, but please enter your questions as they come to you. If you are having any technical difficulties, please send a private chat message to Jared Fijalkowski.
We will make materials available for download at the conclusion of today's webinar. I also want to mention that we are recording today's webinar, so your colleagues who are unable to join us will be able to listen at a later date.
Before we begin, we have a few poll questions for you to answer. This will help us better understand our audience today. If you wouldn't mind just taking a minute or so to fill out these questions, the first is “What is your affiliation?,” The second is, “How many people are participating at your computer today?,” and the third is, “Have you participated in your State or MPO's Tribal consultation process?"
We'll just give it a few more seconds…
I'll broadcast these briefly, just so we can all see. It looks like we have a diversity of organizations represented today. It also looks like everyone is at their own computer, which is great. And about 60 percent of you have participated in your state or MPO's Tribal consultation program. That's great. Thanks for filling those out.
We'll have two presenters today. The first is Theresa Hutchins of FHWA's Office of Planning, and the second is Kyle Kitchel, of the Federal Highway Administration's Tribal Transportation Program. Now we will start the webinar, and I will turn it over to Theresa.
Theresa Hutchins: Thank you, Jared. Welcome everyone to this training series on transportation decisionmaking tools for Tribal governments. As Jared mentioned, this training series is brought to you by the Federal Highway Administration, and is for informational purposes only. Today we will be discussing the statewide, MPO, and FHWA role in Tribal Consultation.
Theresa Hutchins: Today's module will include a discussion on who the audience is for the training and what Tribal consultation is. We will walk through the principles of successful consultation and discuss FHWA, State DOT, and MPO consultation practices. Then we will summarize what you have learned and point you toward additional resources. We also have two guest speakers today who are going to share some of their experiences with Tribal consultation. So we're excited to share that with you as well.
Theresa Hutchins: The Tribal Transportation Planning Training Module Series was created by the Federal Highway Administration to help Tribal transportation planners expand their knowledge. The Series was designed to cover multiple aspects of planning, including capital needs, operation of transportation facilities, and ongoing maintenance. These materials are informational. The modules discuss common practices and provide some sample methods that Tribal planners may want to use. Tribes are sovereign entities, and are not required to use the methods discussed in the training modules.
Theresa Hutchins: The Tribal Consultation module is one piece of a training series, depicted on the graphic on your screen. Modules build upon each other, and are grouped into four areas: Planning, Intergovernmental Relations, Programming, and Other Elements. Tribal consultation is closely aligned to the Partnering and Leveraging module. Both of these modules are designed to foster government-to-government relations that promote Tribal interests.
Theresa Hutchins: Let's begin with an introduction to concepts important to Tribal consultation. So for today's training, it's really appropriate for any official involved in Tribal transportation and so we really think anyone involved in Tribal transportation could benefit from this training.
Theresa Hutchins: What is Tribal Consultation? Tribal consultation is the federally mandated process for timely and meaningful notification, consideration, and discussion with Tribes on actions proposed by Federal, State, and local governments that may impact Tribal interests, including land, property, and of course, people. This process is still relatively new, but is strengthened by a series of Federal laws and presidential orders, which we will discuss later in the training.
Theresa Hutchins: Tribal consultation is an important part of the transportation planning process because actions taken by Federal, State, and local governments could potentially have negative impacts on Tribal interests. Consultation allows Tribes to have discussions and communicate with other agencies in order to receive early notifications about potential negative impacts. When Tribes receive early notification about projects, they are better able to provide input to agencies before actions are taken.
Theresa Hutchins: Let's discuss the importance and relevance of Tribal sovereignty and how that plays into Tribal consultation as well. Tribal sovereignty is the basis and reason for Tribal consultation. It is the right of Tribal governments to self-governance, self-determination, and economic self-sufficiency. Because each federally recognized Tribe is respected as a sovereign nation that stands equal to the Federal government, any activity between the Tribe and the Federal government is defined as a government-to-government activity that fosters that relationship.
Theresa Hutchins: There are a number of recent Federal actions that recognize Tribal sovereignty and influence Tribal consultation practices. The most relevant are the ones shown here: the 1994 Presidential Memorandum, the 1996 Presidential Executive Order, the 2000 Presidential Executive Order, which mandates Federal consultation with Tribal governments, and the 2009 Presidential Memorandum, which then affirms the 2000 Presidential Executive Order.
Theresa Hutchins: Let's look at the three principles for successful consultation. First we have communication. Tribal consultations can be contentious, complicated, and can span many years. These complex consultations are made easier when all parties have a healthy and respectful working relationship before, during, and after the process. There are three principles that have been defined as the ways to best facilitate successful consultations, and they are communication, coordination, and cooperation.
Communication is defined as the process for the exchange of information, data or knowledge through speech and writing, as well as visual tools. There are a number of activities that can be undertaken and tools that can be used to communicate effectively. These would include presentations, the collection and organization of project data that helps actually define some of the information you're sharing and the exchanges. There are standards and handbooks, letters and bulletins, as well as mailings and response forms. And of course there are others, too, that you may be familiar with.
Theresa Hutchins: Coordination is defined as the process for defining and organizing activities, events, and tasks for achieving a mutual goal. There are a number of activities that can be undertaken and tools that can be used to help foster effective coordination. You can have regular meetings. You can have summits and workshops, a Tribal consortium, and there are Tribal liaisons and coordinators. These are usually experts for their agencies. You can use a formal agreement, which can memorialize the terms and conditions agreed to by the consulting parties. And then there are Regional and State Conferences. These are good opportunities for networking and the exchange of views and information.
Theresa Hutchins: Cooperation is defined as the process in which the consulting parties agree to work together in planning, programming, and project delivery. Cooperation is often facilitated through Planning Organizations, regional transit districts and coalitions, and through sharing resources.
Planning organizations might support cooperation among consulting governments and often commit resources to the process. Regional transit districts and coalitions are often used to strengthen already established relationships. Resource sharing allows consulting partners to pool and share resources for specific transportation projects or activities. Now, I'm going to turn you over to Jared again, who's going to help us with what we've learned so far. Jared?
Jared Fijalkowski: In order to reinforce some of the information Theresa just gave us, we are going to post two questions for you: What are the three guiding principles in consultation? Please be sure to check all that apply. And then, which of the following activities are included in the consultation process in which you are involved? So in your work life, or day-to-day life, what kinds of activities do you engage in?
We'll give you a few more seconds as people turn in their answers. Okay, it looks like people are mostly done with the first one, so I'll broadcast these results. Theresa, do you want to say anything about the answers?
Theresa Hutchins: I'm really pleased. Everyone got all of the answers correct, so good job. And I think that, why don't we go ahead and show the answers we received from the other question? Excellent. What you can see on your screen is pretty typical. A lot of people who engage in consultation, one of the more effective tools is really presentations. We see a lot of that to educate folks on different processes a State or MPO may use. As well as training; we're really pleased to see that folks are using training in their consultation process. Because I think that that whole idea of education and sharing information comes from that. I see also a lot of folks are using data collection, which again is an excellent way to make sure people have the information they need to make decisions and inform the processes that they are involved in. So thank you for sharing that information. I think we'll move on to our next section.
Jared Fijalkowski: Thank you everyone, and thank you to Theresa. We will now move on in our presentation. Our next speaker is Kyle Kitchel who will be giving the next section.
Kyle Kitchel: Thanks, Jared. Now we're going to move on to FHWA, State DOT, and MPO practices.
MAP-21 requires that agencies consult with Federally-recognized Tribes when planning transportation projects that may affect the Tribe's interests. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the administrative unit responsible for implementing the Federal-aid highway program and ensuring that Tribes are protected from Federal-aid projects that impact lands and properties. The Federal consultation process takes precedence over State and regional processes.
Jared, if we could move that slide…Okay, we're going to go to the Federal Tribal consultation.
Kyle Kitchel: This training provides a series of Frequently Asked Questions about the Federal Tribal consultation process. We will go over each of the questions and given answers here.
Which Tribes are consulted?
Any federally-recognized Tribe that may be impacted by a project with Federal funds. FHWA uses a number of resources to identify Tribes for notification, including: Native American Consultation Database; BIA also has a website that references the Federal Register that lists the Tribes that are Federally-recognized.
Who initiates contact?
FHWA is responsible for contacting the highest ranking Tribal official or officials in the Tribe.
How does consultation start?
Usually this can be in a letter, so FHWA letter sends a letter to the Tribal official describing the proposed action.
Does the State DOT assume the FHWA role?
No. FHWA cannot delegate Federal consultation responsibility to the State. The State DOT may assist, if FHWA and the Tribe agree to that.
Kyle Kitchel: May FHWA assign special rights to an individual Tribe? FHWA may not exclude Tribes from the consultation process or afford any one Tribe special rights.
So during this consultation, usually, what will happen, is that agreement will start being developed. And that agreement can take several forms. And some of those forms are under a Memorandum of Agreement. And an MOA is a formal agreement which memorializes the actions FHWA will take, in consultation with a State and the Tribe or Tribes, to mitigate the impact of a Federal-aid project on Tribal issues.
They can also take the form of an MOU, and that's a signed agreement between the consulting parties on the process and framework that they will use to work together toward a goal such as completing or mitigating the impacts of a project.
They can also take the form of a Programmatic Agreement, and that's a signed agreement among the consulting parties that memorializes the procedures, processes and steps they agree to follow for consultation or to address any specific issues.
Kyle Kitchel: Federal laws and regulations require States to communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with Tribes in developing their State Transportation Improvement Programs, or STIPs. They also require States to consult directly with Tribes when Tribal lands may be impacted by State actions.
All of this can be found in 23 U.S.C. 135 and 23CFR450. Consultation is also required of MPOs and regional planning organizations, as stated in 23 USC 134 and 23 CFR 450.
Kyle Kitchel: When it comes down to it, a letter is really that initiating procedure that happens which will eventually lead into these agreements that we talked about in the form of an MOA, MOU, or programmatic agreement. With that, I will turn it over to Theresa to summarize what we have learned. Theresa?
Theresa Hutchins: Now that we have completed our instruction of the consultation process module, we have a set of tools and resources available to you to further assist with your own future consultation processes.
Here are several key points to remember while engaging in the consultation process. We have Tribal Sovereignty, and that's really the basis and reason for Tribal consultation. Federal recognition of sovereignty and the obligation to work with Tribes on a government-to-government basis is reserved only for federally recognized Tribes. FHWA, as we learned, is the lead Federal agency responsible for Tribal consultation in transportation. State, Federal, and regional governments must notify and consult with Tribal governments if their projects impact Tribal interests. And finally, the Federal consultation process takes precedence over State and regional processes.
Theresa Hutchins: Here's a Tribal consultation checklist that is included in the module and it is designed to help remind you of all the steps and pieces involved in consultation. And this is available on the module that's online and we'll provide you with that link a little later in the presentation. And it's available in the presentation slides, which will be available for download.
Theresa Hutchins: So now, let's look at the Tribal consultation practices of a couple of agencies. We have two guest speakers to share their experiences – Our first speaker will share his experience working with a metropolitan planning organization's consultation process, and the other speaker will share experience from a State DOT perspective.
Our first presenter is Chairman Mark Romero. He is the Chairman of the Mesa Grande Tribe in Southern California. He is also a member of the Southern California Tribal Chairman's Association (SCTCA), working with the San Diego Association of Governments as a member of their Border Committee, as part of the MPO's consultation process.
Chairman Romero, thank you for joining us today.
Chairman Mark Romero: Thank you, Theresa. I just want to say it is an honor to be addressing this webinar today on behalf of the Southern California Tribal Chairman's Association. And in addition to being on the border's committee for SANDAG, I recently got appointed to the transportation committee. And I want to thank you for asking us to share our regional story. I'm not sure if the webinar participants have read the San Diego case or not, so let me elaborate a bit.
Before I start discussing the topic at hand, I just wanted to give you a bit of background on the SCTCA. We are an intertribal organization of Tribal governments formed in the 1970s to administer Federal grants and programs to the Tribes in southern California. In particular, most of our Tribes are mostly in the San Diego region, and that's 17 Tribes, and some are from Riverside County to the north. In effect, the SCTCA board is an intertribal council with the chairs of each Tribe represented. Over the years this intertribal council has become a forum for working on a number of policy issues. Tribes have for decades tried to get involved in planning in the region, especially on issues with the neighboring land use authority, and that would be the county of San Diego. But it was difficult. In the past decade a number of things came together to get us to the point so that we now have a regional Tribal framework in place. And that would be the political leadership of Chairman Smith of Pala Band of Mission Indians and the chairman of the board for SCTCA—a critical set of Tribal leaders who felt it was important—and Caltrans District 11, Mario Orzo, Tribal Liaison, who approached us with respect and set the tone.
That notion of diplomacy carried over to the metropolitan planning organization for the region and that was SANDAG. When the District 11 Director became the SANDAG Executive Director and that was Gary Gallegos. Caltrans grant the RTA to begin developing a relationship with SANDAG, and SANDAG's borders framework by national, inter-regional, and Tribal, fit well with taking a diplomatic approach to Tribes as land use authorities. On the SANDAG side it was political leadership from the chair, from SANDAG's border committee chair, Patricia McCoy, who supports us and was supported by SANDAG staff. The most important thing to keep in mind is that this effort at creating a regional government-to-government framework is based on the notion that the SCTCA is an intertribal council in the same way that SANDAG is a council of governments. We are a council of Tribal governments. So the diplomatic parity comes from these two bodies discussing issues at a policy level. Chairman Smith, as the SCTCA chair, was asked to sit on the SANDAG borders committee. From there, discussions ensued regarding how the Tribes in the region can coordinate with SANDAG on issues of concern to us. Not everything SANDAG does is of concern to us. So this was a long dialogue.
At the time, which was 2004, our biggest area of interest was transportation. It is complex because our Tribal lands are in the rural east of the county, while the majority of population is in the west. For SANDAG as an MPO, the focus is on investing in infrastructure where the densest population is. For us, it's about access on and off the reservation. We have been dealing with this conundrum for some time. And the issues faced by our Tribes vary across the region. Some Tribes are gaming, and there are freeways and major corridors. Other Tribes, like my Tribe, Mesa Grande, are extremely isolated geographically from the transportation system, and have lifeline issues.
The framework that SCTCA and SANDAG put into place gives us a form for working together on these issues. It's not a one shot deal, no more “check the box” consultation. You know, that's how consultation used to occur, was you notified the Tribe, you talked to someone at the Tribe, you checked the box that you said, “yes,” you did consultation. The elements of this framework are periodic summits between the SCTCA and SANDAG board, Tribal representation on the board, and all policy advisory committees. And as I said, I serve on the borders and transportation committees. Other SCTCA reps, such as Chairman Allen Lawson from San Pasqual sits on the executive board, Chairwoman LaVonne Peck from La Jolla sits on the regional planning, and Vice Chairwoman Stephanie Spencer from Rincon sits on public safety. An interagency technical working group on Tribal consultation issues, Tribes' members, agencies' advisories, BIA, Caltrans, County, MTS, NCTD (that's North County Transit District) and RTA (the Reservation Transit Authority. SCTCA and SANDAG both have staff liaisons that work together and both these liaisons have PhDs.
What have we accomplished with the framework? For the last RTP cycles, the SCTCA worked with SANDAG to develop Tribal consultation plan to make sure we are engaged in a timely and meaningful way, and our voices heard and acted upon. Tribal transit feasibility studies led to RTA getting funding from FTA to enhance routes and improve infrastructure. RTA developed a business plan for the gaming Tribes to become a transportation demand management association. And that's still in the works. Tribes were able to get a “Tribal lands criteria” into a project—an evaluation criteria for highways and transit for the 2050 RTP. And projects would receive points if they could show benefits to Tribal lands. Eight Tribes included their long range transportation plans in the 2050 RTP. We're now closely working with SANDAG, and the BIA through the working group to make sure that Tribal projects are included in the RTP.
And what's important in consultation with Tribes is that consultation happens at the beginning—in the planning stage. Include the Tribes in the planning. In the past we've experienced consultations would happen in the middle of the project, or towards the end of the project, almost as an afterthought. It's important that consultation happen at the beginning, so Tribes can be involved from the get-go and have their input so that these projects aren't delay. Now what's next? As this relationship has matured and more Tribal leaders take interest, we are expanding the areas of collaboration in transportation to other areas. SANDAG is embarking on their new RTP which is combining other policy areas from the Regional Comprehensive Plan. When they did the RCP back in 2002, we were not very involved. So now we have the opportunity to explore areas of mutual concern to include in the San Diego area regional plan—areas like energy, economic development, water, habitat conservation and others.
So I want to thank you for letting me present that.
Theresa Hutchins: Excellent, thank you Chairman Romero. We really appreciate you sharing your experience today. I just want to mention we've got some contact information for Chairman Romero that you see on the screen, also for Jane Clough who is one of the Tribal liaisons at SANDAG. So if you have any questions or would like to talk to them further, I'm sure they would be happy to discuss any of the experiences they've had if you want to contact them. Also, their contact info is included in the presentation and again, that presentation will be available for your download at the end of our time today.
One other quick note is that both of the presenters we have today, their stories are included in the module, so if you get the chance to go on our website and take a look at the full module you will see real good summaries of the activities that they have and how their processes have been successful. So thank you Chairman Romero. We appreciate you being on our call today.
Chairman Romero: Thank you for the opportunity.
Theresa Hutchins: Thanks. Alright, our next presenter is Linda Aitken, and Linda is the Tribal liaison for Minnesota Department of Transportation. So Linda, why don't you go ahead and share your experience from a State DOT consultation perspective?
Linda Aitken: Good afternoon and good morning to some, I think. I think it's still before 12. And I'd like to also thank you for the opportunity to present at this webinar. I know that a lot of other State Tribal liaisons have a lot of good stories, good practices, and good information that they could share and I'd like to also say that I have learned from many of the other States and the programs that they have and the practices that they have through our peer-to-peer meetings when we've had those. As a matter of fact, one of the issues I'm going to talk about today was an idea I had received from one of the peer-to-peer groups.
First of all, yes, I am the Tribal liaison, and I have held this position since 2001, and I'm the only one who has had the position. It was created in 2001, and I was hired for the position. My background is working with Tribal governments previous to working for MNDOT. I've worked for the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and the Mille Lax Band of Ojibwe, and also the Bureau of Indian Affairs. So I do have an extensive history of working with Tribes. I'm a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.
But to talk about MNDOT and Tribal consultation—the foundation for our Tribal consultation comes from our governor's executive order on government-to-government relationships. Our last three governors have executed the executive orders. We're also working right now on a draft executive order to strengthen the language in the government-to-government executive order to require, make some requirements, of the state agencies to institute Tribal consultation policies reporting and also to provide education to state agency staff on Tribal issues and I'll get to the education part at the end of my presentation. But the foundation is the governor's executive order, a government-to-government accord that was signed in 2002 at our first Tribal transportation summit. It was a time that we had the leaders from the Tribal governments in Minnesota. We have 11 Tribes: we have seven Ojibwe or Chippewa Tribes, and our four Lakota. We also had our MNDOT top leader there and Federal Highway Administration Minnesota division and so we signed an accord and that accord was basically to work together on transportation issues and the betterment of Minnesota and for the Tribes. Since then we have had annual Tribes in Transportation conferences, which are now biannual, at the agreement with our advocacy council. But at the Tribes in Transportation conferences we have many issues that are transportation, but we also have much information on Tribal governments, Tribal sovereignty, Tribal culture, and it's meant to educate MNDOT staff. At our conferences we also go outside of Tribes and the State and also include other road jurisdictions that are located within the Tribal lands so we also encourage our county road jurisdiction engineers, and our city engineers to attend our conferences. And just by the way, our national Tribal transportation conference will be held in Minnesota this year and Minnesota Tribes in Transportation conference will be held in conjunction with that.
The other foundation, at that the one I really want to talk about today, and that's the Advocacy Council for Tribes in Transportation, also known as ACTT. I'll just add one more foundation, and that's the commitment and support from the top leadership at MNDOT. I've had four transportation commissioners now during my tenure at MNDOT and they've really set the tone for the relationships and consultations with the Tribes, and that has really permeated throughout MNDOT. Back to the Advocacy Council for Tribal Transportation, the mission is, the Advocacy Council for Tribal Transportation is committed to bringing forward recommendations to improving Tribal transportation through effective collaboration and partnerships. I'd like to add that this group was endorsed by the Minnesota Indian Affairs council which is comprised of all 11 Tribes of Minnesota.
The goals and objectives of the ACTT are first, to assess and evaluate common Tribal issues, identify and prioritize those issues, and to determine the appropriate course of action. The second is to develop statewide policy or legislation, so we determine the external stakeholders, we gather input, we gain Tribal consensus and an endorsement from the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and submit to the appropriate agency for approval or implementation. That's statewide policy and legislation. Three is we create awareness and education on issues, identify information resources, gather feedback on issues, so this, our meetings, we've had a number of educational issues to inform and share information with each other. And four is to identify and promote successful practices. This really has been used for many of our issues that we have taken on as Tribal issues. So we develop processes to identify, and evaluate, and disseminate successful practices. We identify resources and forums for successful processes.
The membership on this committee is not just Tribes in the State. We've included all road jurisdictions in Minnesota and of course the Tribes are the primary members. They are the voting members but we have also included the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Federal Highway Administration, and I'd like to say that our Minnesota Division Administrator attends as often as he can and plays a major role in this group. Minnesota Department of Transportation, we have three high level people included. One of the Division Directors is going to join this group and we have two district engineers that are going to join the group. We have town representatives, city engineer representatives, county engineer representatives, we have Minnesota Indian Affairs council staff, and we have a member from the TTAP (Michigan TTAP), and then from the US Forest Service because we have, especially on the Leech Lake Reservation, we have the Chippewa National Forest, which comprises a lot of the land base within the reservation. The membership consideration in this group is we aid two Tribal co-chairs. So it really is a meeting that is Tribally led. As a Tribal liaison, I assist the co-chairs in creating the agenda, identifying the meeting location, and facilitating the meeting. Membership is voluntary but members are expected to fully participate, and some of what we'd like to do for the ACTT members is that they possess the authority to act and vote on these issues.
So what are the results from the advocacy council? Two of our issues that were brought to the first meeting—one is road signs in Indian country, and the primary concern was the identification of the Tribal community or of the reservation boundaries and so we worked on those. We work on some previous to that. We worked on some casino signing issues. As you know, signing on Minnesota highways and national highways is highly regulated so we have all these “can't go over 10 miles” for certain signs, so we got around those issues and worked with high-level MNDOT staff people and were able to identify the signs. We have the brochure—we developed a brochure—on all signs that are available to Tribes that go outside of just the reservation boundary and other signs. Currently we are working on three other signs. And that's a dual language signage, and that has gone to the Federal Highway Administration and we're still waiting to hear the results of our request for dual language signs, and that would be dual language signs within reservation boundaries on locations, so it would be lakes and river, but it would also be cultural locations. Treaty boundary signage—we just recently worked on signing all of the treaty boundaries within Minnesota. And so what we are working right now is the final design and wordage on that. We're also working on “No Wolf Hunting” signs. It's something the Tribes want, and so the actual wolf hunting is something that is not wanted in Minnesota by the Tribes. Within their boundaries they want to be able to control that.
The second major issue that we worked on at our first meeting was roadside vegetation management. And the reason for that was the Tribes do not want herbicide sprayed within their reservation boundaries because of the natural resources, the lakes and rivers, and the pollution that results from spraying herbicides, and also the natural plants collected by Tribal members. And so we worked with one Tribe and we have a model MOU that received the national award, and it's available for use by other Tribes. And we have at least two other Tribes that have roadside vegetation management agreements with the state.
We work on safety issues, conference planning. This is group that actually develops the agenda for our conferences. We also use this as a form for sharing info and MNDOT has utilized this forum extensively for sharing information and for providing information, and currently MNDOT is working on, it's called a Center Line Pilot Project, and has identified one of the Tribes to work with them. And the Center Line Project is transportation information systems, an integrated database with roadway and selected bridge accident, traffic, and pavement data. The partnered reservation is very advanced with their GIS capabilities, and so the relationships that are developed through this group have resulted in many partnerships.
And so we do have extensive consulting and partnering, but we do have a problem. And the problem is that nationwide, and Minnesota is no exception, that our educational system doesn't include Indian history and culture, Tribal sovereignty, current Tribal governments, Federal laws and treaties that impact how we do business today. I am now the project manager for a project that we have undertaken with other state agencies and other Tribal education experts to develop training for all of our employees on all of these Tribal issues. You know that when you're working with the Tribes and have no knowledge, it's really a disadvantage for state employees to be expected to consult. And so this initiative is to really strengthen the knowledge of our state agency employees and for more efficient and effective consultation. And so we have four modules that we're developing. And we have developed one that's in pilot stage right now. It's a 15-hour comprehensive classroom training, and it is intended for decisionmakers and top leaders, and then staff leaders that work on work with Tribal issues. Our second module is a condensed version of that module, and that will be for all other state staff. Because everyone should know about Minnesota history, Tribal history, and Tribal governments. Because there will be a time when they will need to know this information. We have two other modules: one is for specific training on issues such as, for MNDOT, Trust Land, Public Law 280, and other specific issue training. Some of those trainings will cross over to other state agencies. And the fourth is Tribal-specific training. And that's training for each one of the Tribes. We will have a module for each one of the Tribes, and that will have information that the Tribe wants the state to know. And that would be protocols, Tribal laws, Tribal government, how they make decisions, and other information.
And so we have a lot of work in front of us, and it's ongoing. We will be developing a Tribal transportation policy. But we have many things going. I am retiring soon, and we have a new person who will be taking over the responsibilities. We have a person who was hired in January to transition into the Tribal liaison position. Her name is Barbara Brodeen. I think she, I mean I know she, attended the national conference out in Oregon recently. And so I'm looking forward to retirement and I'm looking forward to really following this education process and seeing it until it's completed. I have really enjoyed working for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It's been the capstone of my experience I believe.
Thank you very much.
Theresa Hutchins: Excellent, thank you Linda! We really appreciate hearing about what's going on in Minnesota. And we know a lot of your work is much appreciated. We're very excited to hear about how the education piece goes. We'll be touching base with you on that as well.
Again, here's Linda's contact information. She mentioned that Barbara Brodeen will be joining her in May as their newest Tribal Liaison. So we have their contact information on the screen. And this information is also included in the presentation slides, which you can download at the end of the presentation.
Theresa Hutchins: So we have completed our instruction of the consultation process, so now you have a set of tools and resources available to you to look at to further assist with future project prioritization endeavors. Please know that this is a part of the presentation that will be available for download. So here are several case studies and documents and books that are available to you. Feel free to explore these resources. There is a lot of information here that will enhance your consultation experience.
If you work for an agency outside of a Tribe and haven't already read the book referenced under the first bullet, “Working in Indian Country,” I would really recommend that as a good place to start. I've read it, and it really provides a good foundation for anyone new to Tribal Consultation and new to working with Tribes.
The other one I would mention is “In their own light” that's a case study that FHWA put together, it highlights some of the efforts in North Dakota and it's an excellent resource as well, and provides some good insights into the consultation process.
Here are some additional resources—again, some best practices in terms of historic preservation, is one that the National Association of Historic Preservation Officers put together in 2005 is an excellent resource as well. And then the transportation decisionmaking series listed in the final bullet on this page. That will take you to the module we're talking about today as well as some other modules available in this series.
Alright, that concludes our program today. Now I'm going to turn you back over to Jared to wrap up our presentation.
Jared Fijalkowski: Great, thanks so much Theresa.
I do want to switch over to the question and answer time and I wanted to give everyone a reminder. If you do have any questions, enter them in the chat pod on the left. Before we start, I want to turn it back over to Kyle. He wanted to make a final remark.
Kyle Kitchel: Thanks Jared. I just wanted to mention and reiterate what Chairman Romero said. Back in the day, I think the way Tribal consultation was handled, was “well we contacted the Tribe and nothing happened.” For those of us who do not work in a Tribal government and we are the ones in a non-Tribal government position, remember when you are making that contact, talking to a Tribal government employee is not considered consultation. They are just that, they are just an employee of the government. It's when you talk to the elected officials, as we stated earlier, that initiates that consultation. So I just want to reiterate that and what Chairman Romero was getting at. So thanks Jared.
Jared Fijalkowski: Thank you, Kyle. So there are two comments in here from Barbara from Texas. “Within the PPD section of the Texas Division we've begun to discuss the implications of SB 466 & HB 1964: Relating to the authority of TxDOT to participate in certain Federal transportation programs. (NEPA, CEs).”; And as a follow-up, it is her impression that California went in this direction in the mid-2000s. It doesn't look like anyone else is typing in questions. I will give you another few seconds to start if you want to. Okay, it looks like no more questions.
So I'm going to conclude with an evaluation section. It would be really nice to get some feedback from you on how this webinar has gone and what you think of it. You'll notice there are 10 questions in there. You might have to scroll in each of the boxes to get the answers to show. You can also notice that on the left in the middle there is a file pod, and that includes the presentation that was given today, the Tribal transportation module for download, and a certificate of attendance if that is important to you. So please fill out the questions.
If you do have any additional questions feel free to send me a chat or email me at Jared.Fijalkowski@dot.gov and I'll be sure to send your questions along to whoever is responsible. So once again I'd like to thank our speakers today, both Theresa and Kyle, and Linda and Chairman Romero for giving their insights today. Thank you to everyone for your participation, and again, please send me a chat if you have any questions. Thank you very much.