On February 3, 2011, the 57 tribal governments from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, southeast Alaska, Northern California and Western Montana that comprise the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI), passed a Resolution, reciting that:
[T]he federal Indian consultation right requires the United States and its agencies, as well as states and local governments, to meaningfully consult with tribal governments, on a government-to-government basis, regarding any matter of tribal implication, in order to allow any affected tribal government to express its views and assert its rights in advance of any non-tribal governmental action or decision-making.
In reference to President Obama’s Executive Memorandum, ATNI proclaimed:
[M]any federal agencies have yet to comply with President Obama’s Memorandum by promulgating a detailed plan of action to implement Executive Order 13175 and in turn honor the federal Indian consultation right; and . . .
[M]any federal agencies, as well as state and local governments, continue to breach the federal Indian consultation right, as well as related Treaty, trust and other guaranteed tribal rights and federal responsibilities, by failing to meaningfully consult with tribal governments regarding matters of tribal implication.
To give but one example, Obama’s Labor Department and its various agencies have yet to promulgate an action plan or set of policies regarding tribal consultation. Given President Obama’s campaign accord with labor interests to advance employee rights, Labor’s agencies increasingly seek to exert federal regulatory power over tribal government, casino and other employers. That political convergence represents the proverbial perfect storm for the next federal appellate court decision thrusting so-called federal laws of general applicability upon Indian Country.
Appreciating that reality, ATNI resolved that it and its 57 member tribes, along with the National Congress of American Indians, will “immediately request that the White House, including the Domestic Policy Council and Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, cause any federal agency that has not yet complied with President Obama’s Memorandum by promulgating a detailed plan of action to implement Executive Order 13175, to do so immediately.” Other tribes should join ATNI and NCAI in seeking to hold any delinquent federal agencies accountable regarding the Indian right of consultation.
ATNI's Resolution was prompted by Gabe Galanda's presentation, "The Federal Indian Consultation Right: Exercising It."
Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian majority-owned law firm. He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California. He can be reached at 206.691.3631 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or via galandabroadman.com.