By David Vogel, NACD Tribal Outreach and Partnership Resource Policy Group advisor
Did you know that NACD is helping conservation districts and Native American tribes establish mutually-beneficial partnerships in putting conservation on the ground?
In 2017, NACD established a new resource policy group (RPG) under the Natural Resources Policy Committee with the mission to assist conservation districts in reaching out to tribes and building partnerships.
The Tribal RPG met initially in 2017 at the NACD Annual Meeting in Denver and since then has worked since on a number of priority actions to learn and celebrate the collaboration already underway nationwide. The RPG helps interested conservation districts and tribes build relationships needed to support successful partnerships.
The thirteen volunteer Tribal RPG members represent conservation districts from each of the seven NACD regions, as well as from conservation partners NRCS, NASCA and NCDEA. Six RPG members are also members of Native American tribes, including the Blackfeet, Creek, Mescalero Apache, Navajo and Passamaquoddy Tribes and a former founding member from the Cowlitz Tribe. The RPG represents both a rich understanding of tribes and of conservation districts.
One of the Tribal RPG’s priorities is to identify and showcase examples of successful collaboration between conservation districts and Native Americans. The RPG has published five success stories in both the weekly e-Resource and the quarterly The Resource describing successful partnerships, including:
- Tribal conservation district formation and support in Oklahoma
- Joint watershed water quality work in Wisconsin
- Cooperative watershed restoration in Washington state
- Tribal youth farm bill education in partnership with the Intertribal Agricultural Council
- Outreach to local tribes in Arizona
RPG representatives have shared news about the Tribal RPG at their respective NACD Region Meetings in 2017, and plan to do more in 2018.
The Tribal Outreach and Partnership webpage includes resources and information to support outreach to tribes, as well as information that can help conservation district officials and staff learn more about the work the RPG does.
Another priority for the Tribal RPG is to engage with tribal associations and organizations. RPG Chair and NACD Second Vice President, Michael Crowder of Washington state has represented the Tribal RPG at a number of tribal group events, most recently at the annual meeting of the Intertribal Agricultural Council in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Tribal RPG is gaining momentum, and you can be a part of its success!
If you have a success story to tell, or if you have a desire to reach out to your tribal neighbors, please visit the Tribal Outreach and Partnership webpage and contact the Tribal RPG representative from your region or NACD Western Issues Specialist Jeff Burwell.