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Consultation With Non- Resident Tribes Georgia Department of Transportation Jim Pomfret, Tribal Liaison
Federally-Recognized Tribes Affiliated with Georgia GDOT/FHWA Consults with 18 Federally-Recognized Tribal Governments consisting of different towns and bands, associated with the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Shawnee Indians. All are culturally affiliated with Georgia and consider all or parts of it their ancestral homeland. Due to Historic Land Sessions (1733-1836) and Forced Removal in 1836, all 18 tribes are now non-resident. Tribes are currently located in FL, NC, AL, LA, TX, and OK Tribes are located 150-800 miles from Atlanta
Brief History of Tribal Consultation at GDOT/FHWA 1992-1999 – Tribal consultation policy was “reactive” only done where there was a perceived controversy or if a concern was raised by a tribe. In 1999 the 106 regulations were amended to specifically require tribal consultation throughout the 106 process. Early 2000’s – Tribal consultation became a more proactive policy, where tribes were now involved in every step of the 106 process. Baseline relationships were established and each tribe was consulted regarding needs and concerns in relation to the 106 process. Tribes were treated as necessary and equal partners, integral to our success Relationships became stronger; building trust and respect Basic consultation protocols developed with each tribe
Consultation 2010 - Present Wanted to build on the strong foundation that was set in the 2000’s Main Goal - Despite having good relationships with most THPOs andHPOs, we had never had face-to-face meetings with many of them, notnever as a group. Wanted to explore the possibility of holding a TribalSummit (ala PennDOT 2003). Other primary goals were to: explore ways to help shrink the distance gap increase participation in mitigation fine tune existing protocols
2011 Inter-Tribal Consultation Meeting at TBAG Helped achieve goal of meeting face to face with all tribal partners in an effort to further strengthen relationships. GDOT/FHWA funded up to two people from each tribe to attend the day long meeting on the Monday of TBAG as well as the entire TBAG meeting. Meeting Agenda was developed by the entire group, including discussion topics and individual presentations. Agenda included topics such as: Meaningful Consultation, Involving Tribes Earlier, Collection, Tribal Knowledge of Important Places, CSD, Public Outreach, Plant Gathering, etc. Day long round-table format with catered breaks and lunch. Resulted in 10 action items for follow up (still working on 1 or 2).
Distance GapWebinarsGoToMeetingPublic Outreach: Leake Trial ProjectImportant Project IssuesProvides a forum for holdingIntertribal meetings andSharing information with livefeedback.To date this has proved to be a veryeffective consultation tool. Muchmore dynamic and instantaneousthan email or snail mail.Worked through some interesting comments such as “what do we want to callourselves” prehistoric vs. pre-contact, etc.
Distance GapVideoProvides information to the tribes quickly andcan be more informative than email and snailmail.Young Harris Petroglyph - found during Phase I archaeological survey.While consultant was still in the field, was able toget a site tour video to the tribes within 48 hoursof the discovery. Placed on secure YouTube siteand link emailed to all tribes. Followed up withintertribal webinar.- Received great feedback from the tribes. Veryappreciative of the video.
Mitigation Invited all tribes to actively participate in the Data Recovery of an Archaicperiod archaeological site. Tribes were offered the ability to visit the site and participate inexcavation and also lab activities (artifact processing, analysis, etc.). The Muscogee (Creek) Nation sent three members from their HistoricPreservation Office, including THPO. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation spent three days at the site, observing,actively participating, and discussing the site with archaeologists andgeomorphologists. The visit created an opportunity for a two-way sharing of knowledge thatwas greatly appreciated by both sides; scientific field methods from thearchaeologists (dirt!) and tribal knowledge from the MCN.
Future Goals Pursue Tribal Consultation Protocol Agreements with all 18 tribes (17 togo!) As of now most agreements are informal (email, verbal, etc.) Increase participation in mitigation. Involve high school or college agetribal members. Paid internships? Explore ways to provide access to Native Plants for tribes.TBAG 20??