Brief History of Tribal Consultations:
The consultations were identified in the scope for our OIE contract since 2007; ED had no formal State or Tribal Consultation policy or procedure and did not hold an official tribal consultation until spring 2010. During the 2009 National Indian Education Conference, titled Partnerships in Indian Education, ED hosted a statewide Oklahoma Tribal Leaders Forum on Indian Education. Twelve of the twenty-two tribes of Oklahoma were represented during this one-day forum. The forum was coordinated with Oklahoma’s department of education to bring tribal leaders/representatives together to discuss Indian education issues affecting Native students in Oklahoma and identify strategies to better serve them. Although Oklahoma has a very active statewide Indian education association and the JOM National Headquarters is based out of Tulsa, OK, the statewide tribal leader forum was the first of its kind on Indian education in Oklahoma.
Additionally, ED was a strong supporter of inter-state collaboration on Indian education and promoted ongoing communication and collaboration among state education leaders, including Chief State School Officers and State Directors of Indian Education. In particular, ED held annual meetings in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) that focused on strengthening partnerships in Indian education at the highest level in states with large populations of Native students. These sessions were led by Chiefs and/or their Directors of Indian Education. In 2008, the group developed a value statement and agreed on goals that addressed the needs of Native students. The value statement and goals were presented to the Secretary of Education with anticipation of full support. However, as it was the last year of that administration the proposal was set aside and nothing came of it. This was the last year the group met and momentum was lost, including the coordination of activity with CCSSO and states.
After Obama’s appointment as President the following was determined: “The consultation is an outgrowth of President Obama’s Nov. 5, 2009 Presidential Memorandum and Executive Order 13175, which direct agencies to develop a plan of action for providing regular and meaningful consultation and strengthening of government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes” (U.S. Department of Education, 2012).
Following the President’s call for all Federal agencies to develop a “Plan of Action” in November 2009 for stronger relationships with tribes, ED held its first tribal consultations in spring 2010, as well as several listening and learning sessions and in 2012 Tribal Leader Education Roundtable sessions.