The Bureau of Indian Affairs Emergency Management (BIA EM) is responsible for policy development and program management of Bureau activities concerning disaster preparedness, planning, response and recovery, and continuity of operations; and represents the bureau in coordinating interagency emergency management activities related to tribal affairs. This includes coordinating with and among Federally Recognized Tribes, Federal agencies, states, and other jurisdictions to enhance preparedness and resilience of tribal communities for disasters and to support response activities during incidents. Responsibilities also include coordinating across organizational elements of BIA and the Office of the Assistant Secretary.

Field Operations
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BIA EM personnel can provide emergency response support, incident coordination, and can serve as a liaison between Bureau resources and capabilities that support emergency operations for disasters/emergencies on federal trust lands. BIA EM coordinates the BIA all hazards response operations actions and assistance with Tribes, recognizing and respecting the Government to Government relationship.

BIA EM, when responding to All-Hazard incidents on tribal lands, recognizes tribal sovereignty and respects the Tribal laws, authorities, and policies that govern the actions necessary to provide safety for all tribal members, property, and natural and cultural resources.

It is the intent of the BIA EM to be a support and coordination body that can provide additional resource/mission coordination through the Tribal Assistance Coordination Group (TAC-G). When formally requested by a tribal authorized representative, the BIAEM coordinates their response efforts alongside BIA staff, the impacted Tribe, and other interagency partners (FEMA, US EPA, & IHS).

BIA EM supports tribal preparedness efforts by providing technical assistance in acquiring training and exercise resources that contribute to the tribe’s total preparedness and community resiliency initiatives. In addition, BIA EM can assist Tribes in the acquisition of equipment and other resources that increase the capacity and capability of a tribe to respond to disasters/emergencies in accordance with their Emergency Operations Plan. In addition, BIA EM may support disaster recovery efforts on tribal lands in accordance with the National Disaster Recovery Framework and integrates our technical assistance and support either through mission assignment or under existing authorities when appropriate.

Other forms of assistance are as follows, but not limited to :

Continuity of Operations (COOP support), Communications assistance by deploying mission ready communications assets, Logistical support

For more information regarding the BIA OJS Division of Emergency Management, please contact Patrick Vacha at patrick.vacha@bia.gov.