Tribal Relations

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s (SNC) mission is to initiate, encourage, and support efforts that improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region, its communities, and the people of California. The SNC recognizes that many of the programs, policies, and projects we initiate or participate in may impact the interests and ancestral homelands of California Native American Tribes. We are steadfast in our commitment to have meaningful tribal participation in decision-making processes that affect tribal interests.

Tribal Consultation Policy

Background

On September 19, 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., issued Executive Order B-10-11, which provides, among other things, that it is the policy of the administration that every state agency and department subject to executive control to implement effective government-to-government consultation with California Indian Tribes.

The SNC has adopted this Tribal Consultation Policy to help establish and grow our working relationships with tribes. The Policy is the foundation and guiding document for SNC’s desires to work in partnership with tribes and engage in meaningful consultation. It establishes a formal process for government-to-government consultations and encourages relationship building through the inclusion of tribal participation in policy and program development. The Tribal Consultation Policy implements and builds on Executive Order B-10-11 and is consistent with the California Natural Resources Agency Tribal Consultation Policy (the California State government agency within which the SNC operates).

The SNC Executive Officer has appointed a tribal liaison as a primary contact to assist with building SNC tribal relationships. The tribal liaison coordinates the communication and consultation efforts of the SNC, responds to tribal inquiries, and advises the Executive Officer on policy matters relating to tribal affairs. At the request of a tribe, the tribal liaison will help facilitate government-to-government consultations or other meetings with SNC staff.

Process

Outreach

The SNC will identify the Tribes to consult at the earliest possible time in the planning process, and allow a reasonable opportunity for Tribes to respond and participate. The SNC is responsible for meaningful consultation with Tribes that promote regular and early consultation through communication and collaboration. The SNC shall disseminate public documents, notices, and information to Tribes. The documents, regarding the topic for consultation, shall be made readily accessible to tribes and be provided at the earliest opportunity. Notification should include sufficient detail of the topic to be discussed to allow tribal leaders an opportunity to fully engage in a substantive dialogue. The SNC shall conduct meetings, outreach and workshops at times and locations that facilitate tribal participation as much as possible. The SNC will be open to communication opportunities initiated by Tribes and will seek opportunities for collaboration by communicating regularly with Tribes. The SNC will seek to protect any confidential information provided to the fullest extent allowed by the law.

Tribal Liaisons

The SNC will designate a tribal liaison, or liaisons, to serve as the central point of contact for Tribes. The role of the tribal liaison will be to ensure that outreach and communication efforts are undertaken in a manner consistent with this policy. Tribal liaisons should be encouraged and empowered to develop ongoing and regular communication with tribal representatives. Where possible and where consistent with administration policy and guidance, tribal liaisons should use these ongoing relationships to inform tribes of issues of interest.

Tribal Liaison Committee

The SNC-designated tribal liaison will participate on the CNRA Tribal Liaison Committee consisting of state department tribal liaisons that will meet on a regular basis in the Office of the Secretary to review tribal consultation efforts and opportunities, and share information.

Access to Contact Information

The SNC will utilize the contact list from the Governor’s Tribal Advisor for the federally recognized Tribes and Native American Heritage Commission contact list for non-federally recognized Tribes.

Training

The SNC will provide training to tribal liaisons, executive staff, managers, supervisors, and employees on implementation of this policy as opportunities arise and are deemed appropriate.

CEQA Tribal Notification Request Process

In compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Public Resources Code (PRC) Section 21080.3.1, the SNC will consult with California Native American Tribes that are traditionally and culturally affiliated with the geographic area of a proposed project. Although the SNC’s intent is to notify all tribes that may be impacted by any particular project, in order for the provisions of PRC Section 21080.3.1 to become entirely applicable, a tribe must request that the lead agency provide it with formal notification of the proposed project and, upon receiving notice from the lead agency, must respond in writing within 30 days to request consultation.

If a tribe would like to request consultation under CEQA when SNC is a lead agency for proposed projects within the tribe’s geographic area of interest, the tribe should send its request to the tribal liaison. Please include a list of California counties that contain any portion of the tribe’s traditionally and culturally affiliated geographic area, or submit a map of that area.

Tribes with PRC Section 21080.3.1 requests:

  • United Auburn Indian Community
  • Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma
  • Pit River Tribe
  • Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California

Additional Resources