Tribal Nations


Tribal Nations

A NEW BEGINNING FOR CONSULTATION WITH TRIBAL ENTITIES Once a governor has made the opt-in/opt-out decision, FirstNet will establish a nation-to- nation relationship with federally recognized tribes that complements its National Historic Preservation Act section 106 obligations. FirstNet’s Tribal Working Group, part of our Public Safety Advisory Committee, contributed to drafting a Tribal Consultation Policy that has been reviewed by the FirstNet Board and codifies FirstNet’s commitment to this relationship going forward.

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Tribal Consultation Policy

FirstNet respects the nation-to-nation relationship that exists between federally recognized Indian tribes and the United States government. In partnership with the Public Safety Advisory Committee’s Tribal Working Group, FirstNet adopted this tribal consultation policy to establish a foundation for honoring tribal sovereignty, accompanied by productive communications, consideration, and engagement with tribal governments surrounding the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).

This policy is independent of and implemented separately from FirstNet’s consultation requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (“NHPA”), as amended. The NHPA and its implementing regulations require federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on resources of historical significance, including those of traditional religious and cultural importance to Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Native Hawaiian organizations, and prescribes a specific consultation process for those purposes. 

Letter to Tribal Leaders

Tribal Delegation of Authority

Tribal Consultation Policy

For purposes of this policy, the following terms shall be defined as below:

Tribal Officials: Elected or duly appointed officials of Indian tribal governments.

Indian Country (or Tribal Lands): Indian country includes: a) all land within the limits of an Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States government, b) all dependent Indian communities, and c) all Indian allotments still in trust, regardless of whether they are located within reservations. The term includes land owned by non-Indians, as well as municipalities incorporated by non-Indians if they are within the boundaries of an Indian reservation.

Indian tribe:  means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688) [43 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.], which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.” 25 U.S.C. § 5304(e) (formerly cited as 25 U.S.C. § 450(b)).

Collaboration: Communicating and working together through mutual respect and cooperation toward a common purpose. Communications between FirstNet and California Federally Recognized Tribes will be conducted with respect for tribal protocols and will strive to achieve consensus in problem solving and issue resolution.

Consultation: A process for government-to-government dialogue between FirstNet and Federally Recognized Tribes regarding proposed state actions in a manner that is intended to secure meaningful and timely tribal input.

To the extent feasible and legally permissible, FirstNet shall be guided by the following principles and best practices to improve communication and collaboration with all Federally Recognized Tribes.

FirstNet and its representatives shall:

Understand that Federally Recognized Indian Tribes have a unique government-to-government relationship with the federal government

Conduct intergovernmental communications with Federally Recognized Indian Tribes in a manner that is respectful and considerate

Encourage collaborative efforts between Federally Recognized Indian Tribes, local, state, and federal government entities to resolve issues of mutual concern and to foster meaningful partnerships

Encourage collaboration with Federally Recognized Indian Tribes utilizing all forums in order to maximize their inclusion and participation

Identify and include Federally Recognized Indian Tribes in the decision-making processes that may affect tribal lands, processes, and rights of self-governance

When appropriate, consider the potential impact of FirstNet activities or programs on tribal governance, lands, and cultural resources

Provide tribal representatives information to enable them to understand and provide input

Commit to assess and review this policy to ensure it is effective

NOTE: No one size fits all - Tribes differ from government agencies and from each other. Remember Tribes may have their own separate legal requirements based on their laws and regulations. Be careful to understand that the Tribes role and the Federal Government’s relationship with Tribes is different from the state and local agencies. Remember what you are consulting on with the Tribe: Federal Agencies must give due consideration to matters of cultural, religious, and traditional importance which significantly or uniquely affect Tribal governments.

The FirstNet consultation process will consist of two phases: Notification and Follow-up:

  1. Notification Phase: Notification can occur in a number of ways depending on the nature of the activity and the number of tribes potentially affected. For example, FirstNet may send out a mass mailing to all Tribes, may contact Tribal governments by telephone, or may provide notice through other agreed-upon means. To the extent feasible, FirstNet shall honor tribal preferences regarding the specific mode of contact. Notification includes sufficient information for tribal officials to make an informed decision about the desire to continue with consultation and sufficient information to understand how to provide informed input. Notification should occur sufficiently early in the process to allow for meaningful input by tribes, and to the extent possible use a 60 day notice period.  
  1. Follow-up Phase: FirstNet provides feedback to the tribes involved in the consultation to explain how their input was considered in the final action. This feedback should be a formal, written communication involving the Tribal Liaisons from FirstNet and the Tribes in the consultation process.

Tribal officials may request a formal consultation with FirstNet on those matters that are deemed  consistent with this policy. The process for Tribal Governments is as follows:

Submit a written delegation of authority  request signed by the Tribal Chairman or Council to FirstNet Tribal Liaisons by email/mail to:

FirstNet Tribal Consultation

12201 Sunrise Valley Dr,

Reston, VA 20191

FirstNet shall evaluate the tribal government’s request, acknowledge receipt of the request, and coordinate the meeting accordingly.

Please direct all questions regarding this policy to the Tribal team at FirstNet,

PSAC Tribal Working Group

Tribal Working Group

A Tribal Working Group (TWG), comprised of volunteer delegates from associations with diverse geographic and disciplinary interests in tribal public safety, was established to provide advice on Indian Country outreach, education, and inclusive engagement strategies.  FirstNet’s intent is to inform and involve federally recognized tribes in planning for and deployment of the FirstNet network. The TWG provides unique and valuable perspective to FirstNet’s Board and staff, as well as to state single points of contact (SPOCs).  They meet monthly via teleconference, along with several in-person meetings each year.

Tribal Working Group Delegates

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI)

    Randell “Randy” J. Harris, Sr. (Tlingit)

Alaska Inter-Tribal Council (AITC)

    Heather E. Hudson, Ph.D.

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

    Brian Howard (Akimel O’odham), Chair

National Native American Fire Chiefs Association (NNAFCA)

    Chief Mark Openshaw

National Tribal Emergency Management Council (NTEMC)

    Robert DesRosier (Blackfeet)

Navajo Nation (NN)

    M. Teresa Hopkins (Navajo)

Indian Country Intelligence Network (ICIN)

    Nathan Nixon(Tlingit)


FirstNet Liaisons
  • Margaret Gutierrez
    Regions 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Mobile: 202 738 8344

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  • Adam Geisler
    Regions 9 10
    Mobile: 202 631 1188

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