APHIS Native American Working Group (ANAWG)
History of APHIS Native American Working Group (ANAWG)
In April 1994, the President directed all Federal agencies to improve program delivery to Native Americans in the 560-plus federally recognized tribes. APHIS responded to this directive by establishing the APHIS Native American Working Group, which has representatives from all APHIS program areas. The group advises the agency's top management about ways to enhance program delivery and accessibility to tribes, intertribal committees, and related organizations, such as the Intertribal Agriculture Council. The group also facilitates the coordination of active partnerships with tribal governments by providing assistance and advice to the agency's units. The ANAWG functions under the direction of the APHIS Administrator and is chaired by the agency's Native American Program-Delivery Manager. The Administrator retains authority for establishing agency policy relating to all APHIS activities and programs of interest to Native Americans. (see APHIS Directive 1040.1: "APHIS Relationships With Native Americans and Tribal Governments")
USDA's Partnership with Native Americans
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognizes the historic and continuing rights of sovereign tribal governments to govern themselves and manage their resources. Further, USDA acknowledges its obligations under treaties and statutes to protect and maintain the lands, resources, and traditional use areas of American Indians and Alaska Natives. This includes retaining utilization of and access to off-reservation lands and natural resources by American Indians for purposes of hunting, gathering food and cultural and medicinal plants, grazing livestock on open and unclaimed lands, and fishing in usual and accustomed places. The Department is committed to building day-to-day working relationships with Native American governments and respecting tribal heritage and cultural values when planning and initiating its programs. Nearly all these programs are managed within USDA's 19 agencies.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is charged with protecting America's agricultural resources by keeping foreign pests and diseases out of the country, minimizing damage caused by wildlife, and protecting certain animals from inhumane treatment. APHIS officials work cooperatively with tribal governments, other Federal agencies and departments, and State and local organizations to enlist their interest and support in efforts mutually beneficial to all parties involved. Program specialists maintain networking systems to better consult with Native American leaders relative to tribal concerns and needs. Managers and program coordinators within the agency consider the impact of agency decisions on tribal trust resources and consult with tribal governments to ensure that tribal rights, issues, and concerns are factored in during the development of projects, programs, and policies.