“Cows run away from the storm while the buffalo charges toward it–and gets through it quicker. Whenever I’m confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment, I become the buffalo.”
– Wilma Mankiller
Help improve economic opportunities for Tribal producers
As Native Americans/Native Alaskans, we know that we were put on earth to care for Mother Earth and to care for the plants and animals so the plants and animals can take care of humans.
We are all interrelated and the “Circle of Life” must be strong and healthy because what impacts one area of the circle impacts all of the rest.
To be conservation leaders, we must address the areas of the circle that are not healthy and need repair.
Tribal Conservation Districts
There are more than 560 federally recognized Tribes in the US whose collective land holdings are more than 94 million acres.
We can do more to have our voices heard and to lead our own destiny as tribal producers.
A Tribal conservation district provides a Tribal entity that focuses on learning about and utilizing the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
and other federal agencies natural resource programs to help care for Mother Earth.
It is the individual tribe’s responsibility to fund the administration of the Tribal conservation district. The district funds are basically used to cover capacity building, operations meetings, office supplies, postage, etc.
Tribal conservation districts are essential if Indian Country is to ever achieve parity in access to
federal conservation programs and to be able to manage their lands in a productive and healthy manner.
To have Tribal needs met, it is critically important for Tribal Governments and farm/ranch producers to become involved in setting the goals and priorities of their Tribal District.
Use it or Lose it
A conservation district or tribal conservation advisory council provides an entity that can focus on learning about and working with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
USDA needs the conservation district’s or advisory council’s local leadership to help guide them in bringing the needed programs to the reservation. Tribal conservation districts develop a Seven Generations Plan to overcome the limitations that are keeping the Circle of Life from being strong.
A conservation district formed under tribal law or a tribal conservation advisory council established by the tribe serves as the focal point for grassroots efforts and the coordinating point in working with other entities in solving concerns by building coalitions founded on common objectives. These other entities may be local, state or federal.
Building strong coalitions is a key to solving many of the existing natural resource issues we are faced with today. There are many common objectives between the Tribe and the USDA agency programs that can help the Tribe achieve its goals.
The USDA and the Tribe have the common objective of assisting the Tribe and members in caring for Mother Earth, owning and operating farms and ranches and value adding agriculture produce.
Each party remains independent with its respective responsibilities.
By coming together, the Tribe conservation district or Tribal conservation advisory council and USDA can partner for the successful delivery of USDA agency programs.
How to Get Involved
The establishment of a conservation district allows for an entity to focus on USDA programs.
A district will help the Tribe gain a better understanding of the various programs available and provide information and education to members as to what the various programs can and can’t do.
A conservation district establishes an enduring basis for cooperation and assistance between the parties to achieve common community development, natural resource management and conservation goals and objectives.
Nothing in the Mutual Agreement entered into by the Tribe, district and USDA is intended to require the USDA or the Tribe to obligate or transfer any funds. Specific projects or activities which require transfer of funds, services or property will be carried out under separate agreements.