We hope you are enjoying Wetú - The Moons of Renewal and Growth (which in Lakota is similar to the Spring), a time of rebirth and renewal for Mother Earth. As we experience this time of year, our ceremonies and traditional activities that take place during this time, we are thankful to our ancestors for teaching us the importance of being good stewards of our land, our Mother, and treating her with care and respect. The theme of the Messenger this spring is Tribal Governance and Environment. Many of our articles relate to these two topics. Additionally we have events taking place over the last quarter and the quarter going forward which fit nicely into Governance and Environment. Please see the descriptions below.
Tribal identity, culture, and traditions are intimately tied to the land and animals. For example, many eastern Tribes have kinship systems (clans) named after animals (wolf, bear, turtle, etc.), and in the Southwest, for the Dine, the traditional way to introduce yourself is to name where you were born, your clans, and your parents and grandparents. The connection to the land is strong in Native cultures, and desecration of the land is felt spiritually. Tribes most often seek to exert their sovereignty in the area of natural resource utilization and protection. In this issue of the ANA Messenger we recognize Tribal Governance and environment projects.
Since 1990, ANA has supported Tribes and Tribal consortia with funding to strengthen Tribal government capacity to identify, plan, develop and implement environmental programs. The Environmental Regulatory Enhancement (ERE) program is designed to bolster regulatory efforts in a manner that is consistent with a Tribe's cultural preservation and natural resource management priorities. What is unique about ERE, is funding is restricted to entities having control over their land or other natural resources, generally this includes federally or state recognized American Indian or Alaska Native Tribes.
ANA is currently funding 12 ERE projects in Tribal communities. We look forward to reviewing and funding more ERE projects, as well as those from our SEDS and Language program areas, as our Fiscal Year 2013 funding opportunities for these areas closed June 6, 2013.
Read the rest of the Commissioner's message here.
Lillian A. Sparks