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White House Council on Native American Affairs

Our Mission

Prosperity and resilience for all tribal nations is the vision of the White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA).  The WHCNAA endeavors toward this vision through collaborative inter-agency work across the Executive Branch, regular and meaningful Tribal-Federal engagement, and by fostering an all-of-government approach in meeting treaty and trust obligations to Tribes.

Tribal Consultation on Indigenous Knowledge Guidance

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) invite Tribal Leaders to a Tribal consultation to discuss Guidance being developed for Federal Agencies on Indigenous Knowledge. The virtual consultation will include an update on the development of the Guidance and a presentation of information being considered for inclusion, on Thursday, September 22, 2022, from 3:00 - 5:00pmEST.  We are eager to hear your thoughts in order to further inform our work on the Guidance. If you are unable to attend the consultation live, please submit written comments by E-MAIL to ITEK@ostp.eop.gov, by end of day, Monday, September 26, 2022.

Registration | Guidance

Native Language Revitalization

The White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) is convening a Tribal Leader Consultation on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, 3pm – 5pm EST, on the the development of a 10-year National Plan on Native Language Revitalization. The Plan would lay out a long-term, all-of-government strategy that works with Tribal Nations and, as appropriate, non-profit organizations and subject-matter experts, for the revitalization, protection, preservation, and reclamation of Native Languages. Tribal leaders are encouraged to register and participate in the consultation, to share their perspectives and recommendations on this important topic. Please send written responses to consultation@bia.gov no later than 11-59pmEST, Friday, October 14 2022.


BABA Consultation

The White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) is convening a Tribal Leader Consultation on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 2pm – 5pm EST, on the implementation of the Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act. BABA applies a new purchasing preference for American-made products that could significantly impact Tribal infrastructure projects. The scope of the meeting will be a Tribal Caucus from 12:30p.m. ET – 2:00p.m. ET, and the Consultation from 2:00p.m. ET – 5:00p.m. ET.  Tribal leaders, or their proxies, are encouraged to register and participate in the caucus to build consensus, and in the consultation, to share their perspectives and recommendations on BABA implementation. Written responses to framing questions will also be accepted until Thursday, October 20, 2022, to whcnaa@bia.gov.

Caucus RegistrationConsultation Registration | Invite

Tribal Treaty Rights MOU Consultation 

The White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) is convening two Tribal Leader Consultations on Friday, September 16, 2022, and Monday, September 19, 2022, each from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (ET), to receive consultation  on the implementation of the Memorandum Of Understanding Regarding Interagency Coordination And Collaboration For The Protection Of Tribal Treaty And Reserved Rights (TTR MOU). Of particular interest are Tribal Leader perspectives on how the TTR MOU signatory agencies may improve best practices and training for federal staff on identifying and honoring treaty rights, reserved rights, and other similar rights. Written comments to whcnaa@bia.gov are asked to be received by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, October 10, 2022.

Friday, September 16Monday, September 19 | Memorandum

Tribal Homelands Initiatives

Secretary Haaland, Secretary Vilsack, and other senior Administration officials are convening a WHCNAA Tribal Leader Engagement Session on Monday, July 18, 2:00pm EST - 3:30pm EST, on Tribal Homelands Initiatives. Tribal leaders are encouraged to register and participate to share their perspectives and recommendations on the various initiatives. Written responses to framing questions will also be accepted until August 11.

Registration | Invite | Joint Secretarial Order | Tribal Treaty Rights | Sacred Sites

Tribal Leader Engagement Session on Native Languages

As WHCNAA co-chair, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will convene the hour and a half-hour engagement session between the WHCNAA Education Committee leadership and Tribal leaders. The Education Committee will focus on Native Language initiatives and seek Tribal leader guidance and feedback on those efforts. Specifically, the Committee will seek dialogue on the implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement on Native Languages, the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities per Executive Order 14049, funding opportunities, and a proposed Federal Plan on Native Languages.


Location: Virtual
Date: Wednesday (June 29, 2022)
Start Time: 3:30 - 5:00pm Eastern Time

Registration | Invite | Memorandum | Executive Order

Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and Water Resources

Water RightsWeds., May 11, 12pm - 1:30pm EST. The WHCNAA in partnership with the Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD) and the FSC Indigenous Foundation will host a webinar on Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and Water Resources. This webinar will focus on the complex issues of water law and policy to discuss the struggles, lessons learned, and progress of Tribes to develop and benefit from their water resources and the challenges and opportunities that Indigenous groups face in other parts of the world. It will examine two cases in the US, the Gila River Indian Community and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, to explore examples where water rights are being implemented and where Tribal coalitions are working together to support species restoration and river management.
Join the webinar

Listening Sessions on Repatriation

Monday, May 9, 1-3pm EST and Tues., May 10, 3pm-5pm EST. The WHCNAA International Repatriation Subcommittee will hold two virtual Tribal listening sessions, Monday, May 9, from 1:00 to 3:00 ET, and Tuesday, May 10, from 3:00 to 5:00 ET, to help shape a pilot program on the topic of international repatriation of Native American cultural heritage and ancestors. This pilot program will consist of a series of dialogue sessions on international repatriation between museum leaders from western Europe and Indian Country. We envision these initial dialogue sessions to be a starting point for future dialogues and engagement.

OMB Tribal Consultation on the President's FY23 Budget

Monday, May 23, 2pm-4pm EST. The purpose of this Tribal consultation is for Tribal leaders and their designees to provide feedback to OMB on the President’s FY 2023 Budget. It is expected that listening to Tribal leaders’ comments will be a significant part of this consultation. Please note that, while your feedback on the FY 2023 Budget will help guide the formulation of the President’s FY 2024 Budget, OMB intends to hold a separate Tribal consultation later this year specifically to inform the FY 2024 Budget formulation process.
Register | Invite

Native Women Rising: Inspiring the Future

Please join the White House Council on Native American Affairs as we kick off the first session of our 2022 White House Native Women Symposium, Native Women Rising: Inspiring the Future, shining a spotlight on issues of importance to Native women. There will be four sessions held throughout 2022, focusing on issues like the MMIP crisis, economic development, and health. We hope to engage in a dialogue about the ongoing focus the Biden-Harris Administration has placed on Indian Country, with direct and lasting impacts on Native women.

Session 1: Implementation of the Violence Against Women Act

Location: Virtual
Date: Wednesday (04/27)
Start Time: 3:00 - 4:30 MP Eastern Time

Sacred Sites MOU Listening Session, March 9, 2022, 1:30pm - 4:30pm EST

The eight signatory Federal Agencies of the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Interagency Coordination and Collaboration for the Protection of Indigenous Sacred Sites (MOU) invite you to participate in a Listening Session on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 1:30PM-4:30PM ET. The purpose of this session is to solicit priorities, guidance, and recommendations from Tribal leaders and Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) on the implementation of the MOU. The MOU signatories also encourage traditional cultural practitioners, Tribal elders, and those with Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) expertise to provide comments and share their perspectives about the MOU and its implementation.

Sacred Sites | Sacred Sites Presentation

WHCNAA Tribal Leader Engagement Session, January 31, 2022, 1pm - 3:30pm EST

The WHCNAA will host its first engagement session with Tribal leaders on January 31, 2022, as announced by WHCNAA co-chair Secretary Haaland at the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit. Following this inaugural session, WHCNAA-Tribal leader engagement sessions will occur three times a year, in addition to the Tribal Nations Summit. The goal of the Tribal leader engagement sessions is for Tribal leaders to have meaningful input on the policies and deliverables of the WHCNAA.

2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit

President Biden and the Administration look forward to hosting a robust and meaningful dialogue with Tribal leaders on key issues, policy initiatives, and goals for Indian Country. This year we have changed the name from a conference to a summit to reflect the federal government’s Nation-to-Nation relationship with Tribal Nations. The Biden-Harris Administration is deeply committed to honoring our trust and treaty responsibilities to federally recognized Tribes and the Summit provides an opportunity for Tribal leaders to engage directly with officials from the highest levels of the Administration. If you have any questions, please contact TNS@who.eop.gov.

Registration | Questionnaire | Agenda | Fact Sheet | Progress Report

Day 1

Location: Virtual from the White House
Date: Monday (11/15)
Start Time: 11:00 AM Eastern Time
Day 1 Tribal Nations Summit Streaming

Day 2

Location: Virtual from the White House
Date: Tuesday (11/16)
Start Time: 11:00 AM Eastern Time
Day 2 Tribal Nations Summit Streaming

Who We Serve


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WHCNAA Committees

The WHCNAA Chair convenes the principals at least three times a year per Executive Order 13647 (June 2013). Recognizing Tribes have equity in all of President Biden’s four priorities – tackling COVID-19, addressing climate change, advancing racial equity, and supporting strong economic recovery – the Council formed the following six Committee topics to carry out the Council’s initiatives:

The Committees intend to produce deliverables and tools, make policy recommendations, and find ways to leverage resources and expertise among agencies to improve services to Indian Country. The Committees meet regularly and provide reports at each of the WHCNAA Principals meetings.

About the White House Council on Native American Affairs

President Obama established the WHCNAA in 2013 via Executive Order 13647 to improve the coordination of federal programs and use of available federal resources for the benefit of Tribes and Tribal communities. 

Co-chaired by the Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice, WHCNAA membership consists of heads of federal Departments, Agencies, and Offices. An Executive Director and inter-agency staff carry forward WHCNAA priorities grounded in the trust responsibility and treaty rights and informed by consistent and substantive engagement with Tribal Nations. The collaboration between the WHCNAA and Tribal leaders sets the foundation for effective federal investments in Tribal communities and for effective policies that impact Tribes.  

The WHCNAA also supports and organizes the annual White House Tribal Leaders Summit to provide an opportunity for the leaders from all federally recognized Tribes to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of the Administration. 


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