Native American Tribal Consultation

The United States has a unique legal and political relationship with Federally recognized Indian tribes1, Alaska Native Villages and Native Hawaiian Organizations2. These relationships mandate special consideration of tribes by Federal agencies during planning and implementation of Federal projects and programs. Indian tribes are also sovereign nations and therefore afforded the same rights and privileges as other nations, including the right to government-to-government consultation.

GSA & Indian Tribes

As an agency that manages, constructs, disposes, and acquires Federal real property, the General Services Administration (GSA) has a responsibility to engage Indian tribes, Alaska Native Villages and Native Hawaiian Organizations through meaningful consultation, on a government-to-government basis. The Center for Historic Buildings (CHB), within the Office of the Chief Architect, is responsible for ensuring that GSA fulfills its tribal consultation responsibilities. The GSA Regional Historic Preservation Officers (RHPO) implement tribal consultation with support from CHB as early in project planning as possible to ensure projects remain on schedule and tribes are given the opportunity to provide input on projects that might impact tribal interests3. Tribal consultation is a stand-alone Federal requirement, but it is often carried out in conjunction with Section 106 review of a proposed undertaking. However as there are no mandated timelines for tribal consultation, it is advisable to contact the relevant tribes as early in the project planning as possible.

  1. Per 25 CFR Part 83-Indian tribe means any Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, pueblo, village, or community within the continental United States that the Secretary of the Interior presently acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe.
  2. The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) defines a Native Hawaiian organization as “any organization which serves and represents the interests of Native Hawaiians; has as a primary and stated purpose the provision of services to Native Hawaiians; and has demonstrated expertise in aspects of historic preservation that are significant to Native Hawaiians.
  3. Federally recognized tribes often have interest in projects proposed on historic ancestral lands of the tribe. As a result, consultation should not be limited to projects solely on current reservation or Indian Lands.
Last Reviewed: 2019-02-26