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About Reclamation's Native American Affairs Program

Who we are:

The Native American Affairs (NAA) Program is an integrated activity within Reclamation. The Commissioner's Office, the Regional Offices and the Area Offices all have important roles in the program formulation and execution . The Office of Native American Affairs (NAAO) in the Commissioner's Office in Washington D.C. serves as the central coordination point for the NAA Program. During program formulation, the NAAO solicits guidance and input from the Regional and Area Offices in order to properly inform the Commissioner of the water resource and related needs of the Indian tribes within the respective Regions and Areas. Each Reclamation Regional Office has a Native American Affairs Program Manager who reports to the Regional Director or his designee. Many Area Offices also have a Native American Affairs Program Coordinator. Once formulated, program execution largely occurs at the Regional and Area Office level.

What we do:

The Native American Affairs Office is responsible for developing and coordinating policy and technical guidelines for Reclamation's Native American Affairs program, providing technical assistance and participating in Indian Water Settlements negotiation and implementation team activities, providing liaison with Reclamation offices, Departmental officials, other Federal agencies, the Congress, OMB, and the Office of the Secretary.

The Native American Affairs Office also provides leadership to further the Commissioner's Blueprint for Reform by building new partnerships with Indian people. This is in conjunction with assessing the need for training and other activities aimed at removing barriers to effective relationships.

Reclamation fully supports both the Tribal Self-Determination and the Self-Governance programs. Reclamation works closely with the Department of the Interior and with interested Tribes to identify and implement self-governance and self-determination opportunities. Reclamation is committed in the areas of water resource management and development on reservations, improving the technical expertise of Tribes.

The Native American Affairs Office has defined future initiatives in the development of rural water supply on Indian Reservations, technical assistance to tribes, training Native Americans to manage natural resources, special initiatives in assisting with economic development plans, partnerships in water resources technical training, and providing assistance to students enrolled in Universities and Institutions.

How the Native American Affairs Office started:

In l989, the Bureau of Reclamation committed resources to assist the Secretary of the Interior in the exercise of his trust responsibility to Native American Tribes. In addition, as part of Reclamation's commitment to reach out and develop partnerships, Reclamation instituted a policy to protect Indian trust assets from adverse impacts of Reclamation programs and activities. The Native American Affairs Office was established to meet these needs. The office shares the mission of the Department of the Interior and the Federal government with regard to the trust responsibility to protect and maintain the rights of Indian tribes and assist in the protection and utilization of Tribal trust assets. The Native American Affairs Office reports to the Director of Operations.


Please direct questions or comments about this website to Janice Simmons at (202) 513-0554. Any questions about the Native American and International Affairs Office or its programs should be directed to (202) 513-0625.