Native American Affairs

Native American Program - Pacific Northwest Region

Over 40 Indian Tribes are located within the Pacific Northwest (PN) Region boundaries. Several have Reservations within or adjacent to existing Reclamation projects and, thus, have had a long relationship with Reclamation and Reclamation facilities. Many of them, however, are coastal Tribes and are new to Reclamation. Reclamation places a high priority on continuing the development of a lasting government-to-government relationship with Tribes and fulfilling its trust responsibility with federally recognized Tribes in the PN Region.

The PN Region established a Native American Affairs Office (PN-NAAO) Program Manager position in 1995, when it selected John Dooley for this position. The Region is working to fulfill that trust responsibility with the Tribes and also working with other NAAO Reclamation managers of Washington, DC, Regions, and PN Area Office NAAO Coordinators.

In the Pacific Northwest, many programs work to benefit, coordinate with, and assist Indian Tribes. Reclamation has various ongoing activities with 27 Tribes in the Region, funded from NAAO and other sources such as Water and Related Resources which includes new investigations or projects, planning investigations program, construction, facility operations and maintenance (O&M), dam safety, and funding partnerships. There are also cooperative agreements with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) fish and wildlife program with the National Power Protection Council (NPPC) for fisheries and wildlife issues and for other cultural resource protections. There are also agreements and cooperative funding with BIA and the National Park Service.

There is congressional authority for Reclamation for specific projects with Tribes:

  • Yakama Nation (Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Program [YRBWEP]) project
  • Umatilla Phase 1, 2, and 3 Studies
  • Shoshone-Bannock, special study "Water Supply System Analysis" and Fort Hall Site Protection
  • McKay Reservoir Storage Allocation on the McKay Creek that provides downstream flows to the Umatilla Reservation
Areas of Activities

Technical Assistance

A prime focus of the PN-NAAO program is to provide technical assistance to Tribes. This technical assistance focuses on assisting Tribes with water-related issues, including use and assessment and quality and protection or development of water-related Tribal assets. The PN Region has technical assistance activities ongoing with 16 Tribes in FY01 and in FY02.

PN Regional and area office staff work with the Reclamation Federal team members to provide technical support to Federal Indian water rights negotiation and implementation teams.

Out Year Funding Support for Tribal Activities and Programs

In addition to the NAAO Technical Assistance Program, the PN Region also has programs that are funded by Construction, GI, O&M, SOD, and BPA's fish and wildlife program with NPPC.


Self-governance Tribes in the PN Region include the Shoshone-Paiute of Duck Valley Reservation, Kootenai of Idaho, and Salish-Kootenai of the Flathead Reservation. The other self-governance Tribes in the PN Region are coastal Tribes in Washington and Oregon.

Government-to-Government Relationships

Reclamation's PN Region is continuing to meet with Tribes in the PN Region to build, establish, and develop government-to-government relationships. Primary activity in this area is the operation of Reclamation reservoirs throughout the Region as these reservoirs affect Tribes, including Indian Trust Assets and cultural resources. Reclamation is also working and meeting with Tribes on all other Reclamation activities that affect them (e.g., resource management plans, title transfer, water spreading [Umatilla Tribe], salmon recovery, resident fish).

See also:

Last Updated: 11/6/18