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Our Native American Partners

March 10th, 2008
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(Originally posted March 10, 2008)

This week, I had the opportunity to speak to the National Congress of American Indians, and it got me thinking about how wonderful it is to team with them, because we can learn so much from them about how to best care for our nation’s resources.
My speech to the National Congress of American Indians

My speech to the National Congress of American Indians

 In fact, we have a terrific Corps program that builds upon both the sustainability ethic and our Environmental Operating Principles, called the Native American Environmental/Cultural Resource Training.  This course, first developed in 2002, has four goals: (1) to develop a better understanding of indigenous cultural, spiritual and environmental beliefs; (2) to share the knowledge and experience of sustainable living; (3) to develop the principles and values necessary to evaluate federal agency actions concerning sustainability and environmental concerns; and (4) to find synergy in the sharing of ideas among federal agencies in the protection and preservation of the land and natural environment.

This course is as an excellent opportunity to learn cultural sensitivity, communication, flexibility, and team-building skills. It focuses on sustainable living.  During the weeklong immersion course, participants live with one of our three tribal partners, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, the Rose Bud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and the Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida. This training may not be what you immediately think of when you hear the word “sustainability” but it’s an excellent example of how we should embed this concept into our projects and activities just as our tribal teammates do. 
 
More information about the course, as well as a link to a video about the course, can be found on our Tribal Nations Web site.  

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