Currently, there is no intergovernmental mechanism for the federal and tribal governments to effectively deal with one another, which can lead to a variety of disputes. The only policy dictating the working relationships between the federal and tribal governments is that of consultation. This was created in the Clinton Administration in 2000. This policy means that before legislation concerning tribes are passed, the government will consult with tribal representatives. However, what "consultation" means is vague in general, and the consultations are often inadequate, as they do not honor a government-to-government relationship. As American Indian governments often assert: most of the time, "consultation" means that state or federal authorities meet with tribal governments to inform them of impending legislation, leaving no room for tribal political authority. At the request of two Indian governments the CWIS Environmental Diplomacy Project drafted a proposed US Presidential Executive Order for a government-to-government framework for federal relations with tribal governments. The Project is also working with National Congress of American Indians, Native American Rights Fund and National Wildlife Federation in drafting a similar proposal. President Sharp of the Quinault Indian Nation met with Jodi Gillette of the office of White House Intergovernmental Affairs to discuss an intergovernmental framework, as well as participating in the White House Domestic Policy Council meeting on August 31. Recently, President Sharp accepted an invitation to meet in conference with President Barak Obama at the White House to strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship. President Obama will host the "White House Tribal Nations Conference" scheduled for November 5, 2009.
November 11, 2009