ACF Establishes New Agency-Wide Tribal Consultation Policy

Thursday, September 1, 2011
Contact: Jesus Garcia
(202) 260-2309

Officials from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and representatives from 42 North American tribes attended the signing of the ACF tribal consultation policy on Aug. 18 that sets official protocol on how the agency engages tribes in consultation on legislation, regulations and policies that affect the services delivered to federally recognized tribes.

ACF operates 65 social service programs on a $58.8 billion budget. These programs promote the economic and social well-being of children, youth and families. ACF also focuses its attention on vulnerable populations that includes Native Americans. Included within ACF’s 17 major bureaus that carry out its programs is the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), which took the lead in formulating the agency’s first-ever tribal consultation policy.

“We are very happy and proud that ACF was able to work with Indian tribes to get this policy created and issued within one year,” said Lillian Sparks, ANA Commissioner. “It is an accomplishment that ACF has such great relationships with our tribes.”

Previously, outside of the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy, ACF lacked a consultation protocol with tribes in the development of new or revised policies, regulations or legislation. Tribal government representatives approached ACF to address this issue.

To address this concern, Representatives from tribes met with ACF staff over the summer of 2010 to discuss how ACF consults with Indian tribes. Prior to this meeting ACF relied on policy guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This effort to establish a more formal policy was in direct response to Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments and the President’s memorandum on Tribal Consultation issued by President Barack Obama in November 2009. After four months of discussion including consultation and internal review, a policy specific to ACF programs was listed in the federal register for a 45-day comment period in December 2010.

The final product is a clear channel of communication that lays out who responds on behalf of the agency, a timeline for responses and where the communication takes place with tribal leaders.

In late August, Acting Assistant Secretary George Sheldon signed the consultation policy at a ceremony with tribal leaders, who were in Washington, D.C., to participate in the ACF 2011 Tribal consultation.

For more information about the resources available to tribal communities:

View the tribal consultation policy.

To visit the link regarding the President’s memorandum on Tribal Consultation, November 5, 2009:

For a copy of E.O. 13175:


Note: All ACF news releases, fact sheets and other materials are available at:

Tribes Represented (Federally Recognized)

Acoma Pueblo
Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
Cherokee Nation Human Services
Chickasaw Nation
Chippewa Cree Tribe
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Citizen Pottawatomi Nation
Colorado River Indian Tribe
Hopi Tribe
Karuk Tribe
Kaw Nation
Lac Courte Oreilles
Lummi Indian Business Council
Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama
Muscogee (Creek) Nation
Navajo Nation
North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California
Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
Owens Valley Career Development Center
Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
Pueblo de San Ildefonso
Pueblo of Zuni
Quinault Indian Nation
Round Valley Indian Tribes
Sac and Fox Nation
San Carlos Apache Tribe
Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
Shinnecock Nation
The Chickasaw Nation
The Hopi Tribe
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
Ramona Band of Indians
Cahuilla Band of Indians
Torres Martinez Tribal
Tulalip Tribes
Washoe Tribe of NV & CA
White Mountain Apache Tribe
Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo

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