A Tribal consultation is a formal, two-way, government-to-government dialogue between official representatives of Tribes and Federal agencies to discuss Federal proposals before the Federal agency makes decisions on those proposals. The Federal agency provides sufficient advance notice to appropriate Tribal leaders of upcoming consultation sessions and, following the consultation sessions, explains to those Tribal leaders how the final agency decision incorporates Tribal input.
What Defines a Tribal Consultation?
The defining features of a Tribal consultations are:
- Notice to Tribes provided at least 30 days in advance of the first scheduled consultation session and containing sufficient detail of the topic to be discussed to allow tribal leaders an opportunity to fully engage in the consultation
- Federal decision-maker participation
- Discussion between Tribes and Federal decision-makers
- Record of proceedings (transcript or meeting notes)
- Federal response to Tribes regarding how Tribal input was incorporated into the final Federal decision.
What Triggers a Tribal Consultation?
Any agency action with substantial direct effects on:
- One or more Indian Tribes,
- The relationship between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes, or
- The distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes.
Note: Sometimes outreach to Tribes is first appropriate to determine even whether an action has substantial direct effects.