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Tribal Relations Events


Upcoming events and training programs are listed as they are announced. Sign up for our email list to stay informed. 

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    Previous Events

    FY2023 Broadband Webinar for Tribes and Tribal Entities

    RD’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) hosted a Broadband Technical Assistance (BTA) webinar specifically for Tribes, Tribal Entities, and those planning to provide service on Tribal Lands!

    The event occurred on Thursday, May 18, 2023, from 1:00PM to 2:00PM Eastern.

    USDA is offering funding under the new Broadband Technical Assistance Program. $20 million is available to support technical assistance projects such as conducting feasibility studies, completing network designs, and developing broadband financial assistance applications.

    The webinar included information about the program and the application process:

    • An overview of the recently published FOA
    • Key Considerations for Tribal Communities
    • Importance of coordination with Tribes and Tribal Entities
    • How to apply

    Upcoming Consultations

    Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA) Purchase Preference Consultation and Listening Session

    USDA will host the same consultation/listening session discussion over two different days to provide additional time for Indian Country participation.

    Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

    Date: Thursday, May 23, 2024


    Details: Under BABAA, when Indian tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, non-profits, Institutions of Higher Education, and state and local governments receive federal financial assistance for fixed site projects serving a public function, they must domestically source steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials. Feedback from across Indian Country is necessary for USDA to effectively balance our nation-to-nation responsibilities with the statutory requirements provided under the Build America, Buy America Act.

    Previous Consultations

    2024 Consultation and Listening Session on Tribal Barriers at USDA

    Time: Tribal Caucus – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET / Tribal Consultation – 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm

    Details: These consultations build on those which occurred in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Over three years of consultations, we have had some important, and at times difficult, conversations about barriers to services at USDA and ways we can improve the experience for Indian Country. We have made tremendous progress in many areas identified in these consultations, as we announced at the 2023 Tribal Nations Summit. We are proud of this progress, but there is still work to do. For the 2024 consultations and listening sessions, we will ask for your input on some critical issues that remain difficult to address. Our framing papers will outline key topics where we are seeking Tribal input, in addition to other concerns which leaders wish to bring to our attention.

    The schedule for the 2024 Consultations and Listening Sessions is:

    1. Monday April 22: Education and Research
    2. Tuesday April 23: Forests and Public Lands Management
    3. Wednesday April 24: Farming, Ranching, and Conservation
    4. Thursday April 25: Economic Development (Rural Development, Consulting Agency)
    5. Friday April 26: Food, Safety, and Trade


    Economic Development Consultation (Thursday - April 25, 2024)

    Tribal Consultation and Listening Session Invitation on the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) Program Proposed Rule

    The RBDG program is intended for governmental entities and non-profits that foster economic development, job creation and business creation in rural and Tribal communities. Eligible applicants for RBDG assistance include rural towns, communities, State agencies, authorities, nonprofit corporations, institutions of higher education, Federally recognized Tribes and cooperatives (if organized as a private nonprofit corporation). 

    On May 24, 2023, USDA Rural Development published a Proposed Rule designed to amend the RBDG program regulations to clarify and expand eligibility for Federally recognized Tribes to support wholly-owned Tribal-government entities as program beneficiaries. The proposed rule can be reviewed in its entirety here.

    More specifically the proposed changes aim to: 
    • Expand the “Small and Emerging Business” definition to include Tribal governments and Tribal-owned entities. 
    • Clarify the definition for “Conflict of Interest” to explain how the agency defines the relationship between Tribal Nations and their Tribal-owned entities. 

    During this consultation, Tribal leaders will learn more about the proposed changes and can make recommendations relating to the proposed amendments. The Tribal consultation portion of the session will take place first and is reserved for dialogue between the USDA Consulting Officials and Tribal officials and/or their delegated proxies only. The consultation will be followed by a Listening Session where other speakers will have the opportunity to contribute recommendations and feedback.

    Tribal Caucus: 
    •Date: July 12, 2023
    •Time: 1:00-2:00pm EDT
    •Register at: Link
    •Note: Tribal caucus is an opportunity for Tribal leaders to discuss relevant consultation issues, typically facilitated by a recognized Tribal organization, without federal policymakers online.

    Tribal Consultation and Listening Session: 
    •Date: July 12, 2023
    •Time: 2:00-3:30pm EDT
    •Register at: Link
    •Note: Tribal Leaders registered for the caucus do not have to register again for the consultation.

    In the event you cannot attend and wish to send a proxy, please submit a proxy form to aian@usda.gov by Friday, July 7, 2023. To designate a proxy for this meeting, please copy and paste the attached delegation form to Tribal letterhead. This delegation cannot be in perpetuity. You are also encouraged to bring program leadership and staff from your Nation to the Tribal consultation as observers. Other representatives from Indian Country who do not have a proxy delegation to represent their Tribal Nation are welcome to provide comment during time allotted for the listening session. USDA encourages Tribal Leaders to submit written consultation remarks by email no later than August 14, 2023, at aian@usda.gov

    USDA consultations and listening sessions are closed press. Press may contact aian@usda.gov for questions on this proposed rule. 

    Consultation and Listening Session on Tribal Barriers at USDA

    Details: Rural Development (RD) invites Tribal Leaders and Tribal Partners to meet with Consulting Officials from RD’s Rural Utilities Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, and the Innovation Center for a Consultation and Listening Session on Tribal Barriers at USDA. Topics include providing a progress report on previously identified Tribal Barriers, work that still needs to be done and needed tribal input, and discussion of new barriers and steps to overcome them.

    This Framing Paper provides information about work accomplished since the previously conducted Tribal Barriers Consultations held in 2021 and 2022. This Framing Paper is not meant to limit the conversation, but rather provide issues that have been previously identified that can help guide the conversation. The Tribal Consultation session will have a Tribal Consultation (tribal officials and official tribal proxies only) section and a Listening Session (Indian Country speakers) section to provide a broad opportunity for input.

    Tribal Consultation:

    • Date: Monday, April 24, 2023
    • Time: 2-5:30pm EST


    Consultation on Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Renewable Energy Infrastructure Funding & Related Energy/Electric Programs

    Tribal Caucus:

    • Date: December 15, 2022
    • Time: 2:00-3:00pm EST
    • Note: Tribal caucus is an opportunity for Tribal leaders to discuss relevant consultation issues without federal policymakers online.

    Tribal Consultation:

    • Date: December 15, 2022
    • Time: 3:00-5:00pm EST
    • Note: Tribal Leaders registered for the caucus do not have to register again for the consultation.

    Invitation Letter (PDF, 334 KB)
    Proxy Letter (DOCX, 20.3 KB)


    WHCNAA Consultation on Build America, Buy American

    Details: On behalf of the White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA), you are cordially invited to an interagency Tribal consultation on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 2pm – 5pm EST, on the implementation of the Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act (Pub. L. No. 117-58, §§ 70901-52), which was enacted as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Pub. L. No. 117-58).

    BABA applies a new purchasing preference for American-made products that could significantly impact Tribal infrastructure projects. It provides that “none of the funds made available for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure, including each deficient program, may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.”

    Tribal Caucus:

    • Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2022
    • Time: 12:30-1:30pm ET
    • Note: Tribal caucus is an opportunity for Tribal leaders to discuss relevant BABA consultation issues without federal policymakers online.

    Tribal Consultation:

    • Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2022
    • Time: 2:00-5:00pm ET
    • Note: Tribal leaders interested in participating in Tribal Caucus must also register for Tribal Consultation.

    Invitation Letter (PDF, 376 KB)

    USDA Tribal Consultation on Barriers and Equity

    These consultations are a follow up on the two consultations that occurred in March 2021 in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities. There will be five consultations covering different subject matters areas at USDA. The attached agenda (PDF, 429 KB) breaks down essential information into greater depth such as the subject areas, issues involved, and the agencies involved and will additionally be posted on the OTR consultation website at: Tribal Consultations. Prior to each consultation, a tribal caucus will start at 2:00 pm ET. USDA staff will not participate in the tribal caucus as it is designed for tribal leaders and tribal organizations to have internal discussion. The consultation with USDA officials and tribal leaders will then take place from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET. These consultations will be virtual. The consultations will be on the following days:


    1. Monday, April 24: Economic Development
    2. Tuesday, April 25: Food, Safety, and Trade
    3. Thursday, April 27: Farming, Ranching, and Conservation
    4. Friday, April 28: Forests and Public Lands Management
    5. Monday, May 1: Education and Research

    Economic Development

    Tribal Caucus (hosted by NAFOA, NCAIED, and Native CDFI)

    • Date: Monday, April 11, 2022
    • Time: 2:00-3:00pm ET

    Tribal Consultation

    • Date: Monday, April 11, 2022
    • Time: 3:00-5:00pm ET

    Framing Paper: Economic Development (PDF, 249 KB)

    Creating a Tribal Action Plan for Fairer Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Processing

    On January 3, 2022, the Biden-Harris administration announced an action plan for a fairer, more resilient meat and poultry supply chain. Of the approximately $800 million available at USDA, a significant investment could be made to support the development and expansion of Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Processing infrastructure in Indian Country. What should that look like? What do you need?

    USDA seeks to consult with Tribal Leaders and hear from Tribal enterprises on new funding opportunities to Expand independent processing capacity and Support workers and the independent processor industry. This announcement builds on a July 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy to create a fairer, more resilient, and more dynamic economy.

    • Date: Thursday, January 27, 2022
    • Time: 3:00-5:00pm ET

    Consultation and Listening Session (PDF, 221 KB)

    Water and Wastewater Environmental Programs Tribal Consultation

    Dates: November 30, 2021 & December 1, 2021
    Time: 1:00-2:30 pm ET

    Invitation Letter (PDF, 172 KB)