Native American Affairs Program

Program Support—Columbia-Pacific Northwest
(Interior Region 9)

Formerly the Pacific Northwest Region

The Columbia-Pacific Northwest Region encompasses all or part of the States of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming.  There are approximately 43 federally recognized Indian tribes in this region.  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 and fulfilling its trust responsibility with federally recognized Indian Tribes in the region.  The region's Native American Affairs Office was established in 1995 to fulfill trust responsibility with Indian tribes.

The principal objective of this region's Native American Affairs Office is to provide technical assistance to Indian tribes.  Overall goals and responsibilities in this region include:

  • Technical Assistance.—Technical assistance focuses on assisting Indian tribes with water-related issues, including use and assessment, quality and protection, and development of water-related Tribal assets.

  • Technical Support.—The region's Native American Affairs Office and Regional and Area Office staff work with and provide technical support to Federal Indian Water Rights Settlements negotiation and implementation teams.

  • Out-Year Funding Support for Tribal Activities and Programs.—In addition to the Native American Affairs Technical Assistance Program, the region also has programs that are funded by Construction, Operation and Maintenance (O&M), Safety of Dams (SOD), and the Bonneville Power Administration's Fish and Wildlife Program with the National Power Protection Council (NPPC).

  • Self-Governance.—Self-governance Indian tribes in the region include the Shoshone-Paiute of Duck Valley Reservation, Kootenai of Idaho, and the Salish-Kootenai of the Flathead Reservation.  The other self-governance Indian tribes in the region are coastal tribes in Washington and Oregon.

  • Government-to-Government Relationships.—The region is continuing to meet with Indian tribes in the 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 Indian tribes, including Indian trust assets and cultural resources.  Reclamation is also working and meeting with Indian tribes on all other Reclamation activities that affect them (e.g., resource management plans, title transfer, water spreading, salmon recovery, resident fish, etc.).

Many programs work to benefit, coordinate with, and assist Indian tribes.  Reclamation has various ongoing activities with Indian tribes in the region, which include new investigations or projects, planning investigations, construction, facility O&M, SOD, and funding partnerships.

There are also cooperative agreements with the Bonneville Power Administration's Fish and Wildlife Program with NPPC for fisheries and wildlife issues and other cultural resource protections.  There are also cooperative agreements (and funding) with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the National Park Service.

In addition, there is Congressional authority for Reclamation for specific projects with Indian tribes, such as:

  • Yakama Nation Project (Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Program)
  • Umatilla Study, Phases 1, 2, and 3
  • Shoshone-Bannock Special Study, "Water Supply System Analysis" and Fort Hall Site Protection
  • McKay Creek/Reservoir Storage Allocation that provides downstream flows to the Umatilla Reservation

Contact Information
Name, Title Office Telephone Number Email
Melinda Hernandez Burke
Regional Native American Affairs Program Manager
Regional Office
1150 North Curtis Road
Boise ID  83706
(208) 215-0065
Jessica R. Asbill-Case
Native American Affairs Advisor
Snake River Area Office
230 Collins Road
Boise ID  83702
(208) 383-2282
Native American Affairs Advisor
Columbia-Cascades Area Office
1917 Marsh Road
Yakama WA  98901-2058
Tribes in the Region (Adobe PDF)
Last Updated: 10/29/21