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Education Secretary Begins Tribal Consultations

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today the first of several Regional Tribal Official consultations.  Department officials will travel to Alaska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and New Mexico to strengthen government-to-government relations with Indian Tribes.
 
The meetings are in response to President Obama’s  Nov. 5, 2009 Presidential Memorandum and Executive Order (EO) 13175, which directs agencies to develop a plan of actions for providing regular and meaningful consultation and strengthening of government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes.
 
Addressing the Tribal Nations Conference and Interactive Discussion with Tribal Leaders at the White House on Nov. 5, President Obama said:  “I know what it means to feel ignored and forgotten, and what it means to struggle.  So you will not be forgotten as long as I’m in this White House.  Together, working together, we’re going to make sure that the First Americans, along with all Americans, get the opportunities they deserve.”
 
Specifically, the Department’s meetings will seek feedback from tribal leaders on the Department’s blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; the Department’s Plan of Actions to implement EO 13175; on development of the Department’s official consultation policy; and on any other federal education issue that has tribal implications.
 
Charles P. Rose, general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education, will implement the Department’s Plan of Actions in response to the executive order.  The Plan of Actions includes:  development of the Department’s consultation policy; scheduling both regular and ad hoc consultation meetings with Indian tribes and tribal officials on substantive education issues with tribal implications, and follow-thru procedures; intra- and inter-agency collaboration; and, communication and outreach.
 
Senior Department officials already have met nine times since the Nov. 5 White House meeting, including a Jan. 11 meeting where Secretary Duncan and other Department representatives met with Department of Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, White House Advisor Kimberly Teehee, and tribal officials.
 
The scheduled 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. consultation meetings are as follows:
 
  • April 16 – Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Rasmuson Conference Center, 3600 San Jeronimo Drive, Suite 286, Anchorage, Alaska.
  • April 19 – Firelake Casino, 777 Grand Casino Blvd, Shawnee, Okla.
  • April 28 – Pine Ridge High School, 101 Thorpe Circle, Pine Ridge, S.D.
  • May 3 – specific location TBD, Santa Clara Pueblo, N.M.
 
Please visit http://www.edtribalconsultations.org/ or call Ashley Wiegner at (202) 401-8321 for updated information.
 
###
 
U.S. Department of Education                                           
Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office                                 
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.                                                  
Washington, D.C. 20202                 
 
FOR RELEASE:  April 6, 2010
CONTACT: David Thomas (292) 401-1579,
               or press@ed.gov



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