CHDS Alum Leads Tribal Internet Access Expansion Program

A multi-billion dollar federal program aimed at expanding broadband internet access for Native American tribes in the U.S. is being led by Center for Homeland Defense and Security alumna Margaret Gutierrez.  

PAWHUSKA, Okla. — Local, tribal, and national leaders gathered in Pawhuska on March 4 to break ground on a project that will bring high-speed internet to communities in Osage Nation.

Gutierrez, who graduated from the CHDS Master’s Program in 2013, serves as Division Chief for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration Tribal Broadband Connectivity and Nation-to-Nation Coordination Division. 

She and her team administer the $3 billion Tribal Broadband Connectivity program, including notices of funding opportunity and funding awards. The program is directed to tribal governments to be used for broadband deployment on tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.  

Gutierrez is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and was the first Native American working for a tribe to earn a CHDS Master’s Degree in Security Studies. Her team comprises predominantly Native Americans, the first time that has happened in a federal agency, she said. 

Her team includes Federal Program Officers Christopher Becenti, a member of Navajo Nation; Crystal Hottowe, a member of the Makah Tribe; and Isabel Lopez, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, among others. 

Gutierrez said 13 of the 18 members of her team are Native American. 

In addition, former Division Chief Adam Geisler, who Gutierrez replaced, is from the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians. 

Gutierrez, Becenti, Hottowe, and Lopez, as well as members of her team who are not enrolled tribal members including Jeffrey Kozdron and Theron Rutyna, each offered their thoughts on the importance of expanded internet access for tribal governments and their communities in a series of question-and-answer interviews with CHDS Strategic Communications for this article. 

Margaret Gutierrez

Q: What does adding broadband access mean to tribal communities?   

A: Broadband access holds multifaceted significance for tribal communities, encompassing various aspects that significantly impact their socioeconomic and cultural landscape. 

First, broadband access means enhanced connectivity, both in terms of mobile access and high-speed internet connectivity. In many tribal communities, mobile devices serve as the primary gateway to the digital world. Reliable mobile broadband infrastructure ensures that community members can access the internet, connect with others, and utilize online resources effectively. 

Telehealth services stand out as a crucial aspect of broadband access for tribal communities. With reliable internet connectivity, tribal members can access remote healthcare services, including consultations, diagnoses, and treatment options, without the need for extensive travel. This is particularly significant in remote or underserved areas where access to healthcare facilities is limited. 

Additionally, broadband access opens up avenues for education through distance learning programs. Tribal students gain access to educational resources, online classes, and collaborative platforms, transcending geographical barriers. This not only enriches educational opportunities but also contributes to the empowerment of tribal youth and the preservation of cultural knowledge. 

Furthermore, broadband connectivity plays a pivotal role in bridging the digital divide. By providing equal opportunities for tribal communities to participate in the digital realm, access online information, and engage in digital communication and commerce, broadband access promotes digital inclusion. This, in turn, enhances socioeconomic prospects, fosters community development, and reduces disparities between tribal and non-tribal populations. 

In essence, efforts to expand broadband infrastructure and promote digital inclusion in tribal communities are integral for their empowerment, economic development, and overall well-being. By leveraging the transformative potential of broadband access, tribal communities can enhance educational outcomes, improve healthcare accessibility, and pave the way for socioeconomic prosperity while preserving our unique cultural heritage. 

Q: What does the absence of broadband access mean for tribal communities?   

A: The lack of broadband access in tribal communities has significant consequences across various sectors and can severely impact the tribal government, businesses, education, healthcare, digitization efforts, and overall quality of life. Limited or no broadband access can hinder the efficiency and effectiveness of tribal government operations, such as communication, data sharing, and online services. It also affects tribal businesses by limiting their ability to engage in e-commerce, online marketing, and accessing digital tools for business growth. 

Without broadband access, tribal students face barriers in accessing online educational resources, participating in remote learning programs, and engaging with digital learning platforms. This can lead to educational disparities and hinder the educational opportunities of tribal youth. Broadband is essential for digitizing and preserving tribal documents, cultural heritage, and historical records. 

The lack of high-speed internet in tribal communities’ limits employment options, leading to reduced economic opportunities and potential job losses. 

In emergencies, reliable internet access is vital for accessing emergency services, communicating with first responders, and utilizing connected devices for safety. The absence of broadband can delay or hinder emergency response efforts, potentially putting lives at risk. 

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the disparities in broadband access and its consequences in tribal communities. Communities with broadband connectivity could adapt to remote work, remote learning, telehealth consultations, and online shopping. However, those without access faced isolation, limited access to critical services, and economic disadvantages. 

Even when broadband is available in some areas, affordability can be a significant hindrance. Many tribal communities face financial constraints, and the cost of broadband services may be prohibitively high. This further exacerbates the digital divide and limits access to fast and reliable internet connections. 

Addressing these challenges requires comprehensive efforts, including infrastructure development, policy support, and initiatives to increase affordability, digital literacy, and access to broadband services in tribal communities. By bridging the digital divide, tribal communities can unlock new opportunities, improve quality of life, and achieve greater socioeconomic progress.  

Q: What is the connection between broadband access and homeland security/emergency management issues in tribal communities?  

A: One of the primary responsibilities of a Tribal Nation’s government is to ensure the safety and security of its Tribal members and the public. Reliable internet access, particularly broadband connectivity, plays a crucial role in fulfilling this duty. During emergencies, such as disasters or medical crises, broadband access enables tribal communities to quickly and easily access emergency services. It facilitates communication with first responders, allowing individuals to report emergencies, seek assistance, and receive real-time updates and instructions. 

Broadband connectivity supports efficient communication between first responders, emergency management agencies, and tribal government entities. It enables them to coordinate response efforts, share critical information, and ensure a timely and effective emergency response. In emergencies, internet-connected devices like smartphones, wearable devices, or home security systems can be invaluable. They enable individuals to send distress signals, share location information, and access safety-related resources. Without broadband access, these devices may not function optimally, hindering personal safety and emergency response. 

Broadband access is crucial for monitoring critical infrastructure systems, such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. These systems are responsible for managing and controlling various aspects of infrastructure, including water treatment plants, power grids, and transportation networks. Reliable internet connectivity allows for real-time monitoring, maintenance, and early detection of potential issues, enhancing overall infrastructure safety and security. 

With broadband access, tribal authorities can remotely monitor border areas using surveillance cameras, sensors, and other advanced technologies. This remote monitoring capability enhances situational awareness and allows for timely responses to border incidents or breaches. enables tribal authorities to coordinate and share information with external agencies involved in border security efforts, such as neighboring tribal nations, federal law enforcement agencies, and border patrol. 

Broadband access supports the implementation of public safety initiatives, such as video surveillance systems, emergency alert systems, and community notification platforms. These systems rely on internet connectivity to provide timely information, enhance situational awareness, and ensure the safety of tribal communities. By ensuring broadband access in tribal communities, governments can strengthen emergency preparedness, response, and overall safety and security measures. It enables efficient communication, empowers individuals to access emergency services, and facilitates the monitoring and maintenance of critical infrastructure systems. 

These efforts contribute to the well-being and protection of tribal community members, ultimately fulfilling the government’s duty to ensure their safety.  

Q: Why/how has the Department of Commerce’s NTIA OICG been so successful in tribal outreach on broadband access efforts? Can/should that model extend to other tribal initiatives?  

A: It is noteworthy that the Department of Commerce, NTIA has placed an emphasis on direct Tribal engagement and that the majority of the team interacting with Indian Country consists of enrolled Tribal Members. This approach brings valuable firsthand understanding of the issues and challenges faced by Tribal communities, as well as the importance of personal interaction and cultural sensitivity. It demonstrates a commitment to ensuring effective communication, timely support, and a deeper understanding of the unique circumstances and needs of each Tribe. 

The Department of Commerce has taken proactive steps to ensure that Tribes are well-informed and have an opportunity to access the resources and individual technical assistance needed. This direct outreach helps overcome barriers such as limited broadband access, ensuring that information reaches Tribal communities even if they face challenges with internet connectivity. 

Furthermore, having staff members spread across the country, strategically located in different regions, showcases an understanding of the diverse barriers and challenges faced by Tribes in various geographic locations. It enables the team to better comprehend and address the specific regional needs, time zones, and hurdles involved in processing paperwork or providing assistance. 

This approach demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity, cultural competence, and responsiveness to the unique circumstances of each Tribe, ultimately fostering stronger partnerships and ensuring that the resources and support provided are better tailored to meet the needs of Indian Country. 

The Department of Commerce took a proactive step to ensure that the grants and programs developed were informed by meaningful Tribal Consultation. This approach reflects a genuine commitment to engaging with Tribes as partners, valuing their insights, recognizing their expertise on matters that directly impact their communities and their right to self govern. Allowing tribes through consultation to have sufficient time to express their thoughts without limitations on speaking time is crucial for ensuring that their voices are heard and that their feedback is adequately captured. Tribal Consultations emphasize meaningful engagement and inclusivity, benefiting tribes and providing a model for other federal agencies to promote effective communication and respect for Tribal sovereignty. By adopting similar consultation and engagement processes, federal agencies can foster stronger relationships with Tribal nations, increase the impact and relevance of their programs, and ensure that Tribal communities’ needs and perspectives are central to the decision-making processes that affect them.  

 Christopher Becenti

Q: What does adding broadband access mean to tribal communities?   

A: Adding broadband access to tribal communities means enhancing communication and safety measures. Five years ago, broadband served as the primary means to disseminate crucial information such as upcoming events, weather updates, missing persons alerts, and shelter information during adverse weather conditions. In 2019, during a snowstorm, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated, enabling community members and tribal employees to submit resource requests via shared phone numbers and emails. However, before fixing Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the Navajo Nation received less than 50 percent of alerts. To address this, Navajo Nation Emergency Management utilized EverBridge to send mass text messages, although individuals had to enroll to receive these alerts. 

Q: What does the absence of broadband access mean for tribal communities?   

A: The absence of broadband access poses significant challenges for tribal communities. Without reliable communication channels, efforts become disorganized. In cases of emergencies, such as when someone goes missing, the lack of broadband access hampers the community’s ability to disseminate alerts and for the public to remain vigilant. In such circumstances, tribal communities have traditionally relied on radio stations to ensure community awareness. For instance, during the pandemic when broadband infrastructure was unavailable for streaming townhall sessions, radio stations were utilized for live broadcasts, ensuring community members could still access vital information. 

Q: What is the connection between broadband access and homeland security/emergency management issues in tribal communities?  

A: The link between broadband access and homeland security/emergency management in tribal communities is evident, particularly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of internet infrastructure became glaringly apparent, impacting the ability of Emergency Management and Health Operations Command to keep communities informed during surges in COVID-19 cases. Despite this, all available resources were utilized to disseminate vital information, including updates on COVID-19 hotspots, the importance of staying home for safety, and the organization of vaccine distribution, especially when supplies were limited. Priority was given to vulnerable groups, such as elders and those at high risk, before vaccinations became accessible to the general public. 

Q: Why/how has the Department of Commerce’s NTIA OICG been so successful in tribal outreach on broadband access efforts? Can/should that model extend to other tribal initiatives?  

A: The success of the Department stems from its focus on building professional relationships and keeping tribal leaders informed about matters that affect their members and their land. When collaborating with tribal leaders, the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) prioritizes establishing and nurturing these relationships, enabling effective communication and understanding of tribal needs. This model of engagement, characterized by relationship-building and facilitating connections, could indeed be extended to other tribal initiatives to enhance collaboration and support across various domains. 

Crystal Hottowe

Q: What does adding broadband access mean to tribal communities?   

A: Broadband access for tribal communities is crucial for tribal communities to have the ability to interact and interoperate with each other within the reservation borders as well as outside of those borders for virtually any reason. There are very few areas that broadband does not touch. Public Safety, healthcare, education, employment, workforce development, and commerce are broad subjects that all require some level of broadband access whether it’s devices, security, or software; and whether it is utilized for the management of services or to obtain services. 

Additionally, having the ability to incorporate increased management capabilities for areas that may not be at the forefront of consideration such as tribal enrollment, housing, natural resource management, and centralized purchasing provides the opportunity for more effective administration and productivity. 

An increase in broadband access means an increase in education opportunities without having to leave their ancestral homelands. For some tribal communities, broadband access means the preservation of culture such as language, song, dances, and traditional stories. Many tribal communities are in the most rural and remote areas of our nation where basic life-saving services such as 9-1-1 is unavailable or accessible only in certain areas of their ancestral homelands.  

Broadband access means the opportunity for specialized medical appointments that will not require the use of limited resources to attend; poverty rates are high on reservations and tribal communities and living on a limited income, families are frequently faced with the choice of attending a specialized medical appointment for treatment or paying for a week’s worth of groceries. 

Q: What does the absence of broadband access mean for tribal communities?   

A: The lack of broadband access in tribal communities’ results in lower education rates, increased morbidity, and inefficient resource allocation, ultimately diminishing both the quality and quantity of life within these communities. 

Q: What is the connection between broadband access and homeland security/emergency management issues in tribal communities?  

A: In far too many cases in far too many tribal communities across our nation, broadband access is literally the difference between life and death. Interoperability for disaster response, search and rescue, car accidents, and emergencies overall is crucial and without that communication factor, people die. 

Q: Why/how has the Department of Commerce’s NTIA OICG been so successful in tribal outreach on broadband access efforts? Can/should that model extend to other tribal initiatives?  

A: NTIA OICG went out of their way to recruit people for the TBCP who are from the communities that are to be served and every team member has experience working with tribes. Having Federal Program Officers who have previous tribal experience made a difference in several ways, most importantly for the process. We understand it may take a week to get a signature from a tribal chairman, or a month to obtain a signed Tribal Resolution. If this model can ever be replicated with other tribal initiatives, it definitely should! There is a comfort level for tribal applicants knowing that when they talk to TBCP, they’re talking to people who are from the same kind of communities, and who have experienced the same type of challenges. There is a level of empathy and first-hand knowledge within the TBCP that the tribal applicants are appreciative of. 

 Isabel Lopez

 Q: What does adding broadband access mean to tribal communities?   

A: I remember working police dispatch in the California Bay Area and all the technology at our fingertips. There are several calls that I can’t shake from my memory no matter how hard I might try. I know how much worse those calls could have ended if we didn’t have broadband and the ability to access maps, aerial photos, GIS, floor plans, or cell phone coordinates. Without too much detail, in one such incident, a kidnapping victim in a car secretly called 9-1-1. Broadband access allowed us to predict where that vehicle was going, ultimately locating the vehicle, arresting the suspect, and getting the victim medical attention. On that call, broadband and the technology at our fingertips allowed us to search systems and narrow down the suspect and the vehicle they were driving, down to the color and license plate.  

Then I remember the times our CAD system would go down. We would revert to dispatching with pen and paper. There was such a delay in finding information and relaying it to officers. We would sit on the edge of our seats, watching the minutes tick away, hoping it was a quiet night so that our officers wouldn’t be going into a hot call without the benefit of the rapid information accessible because of broadband; that it was a quiet night and the residents of our city didn’t need us to quickly deploy staff and resources, access databases or quickly relay information across the region, state, or nation; that it was a quiet night and a neighboring agency didn’t need us to rapidly deploy assistance, resources or provide data; that it was a quiet night so the courts wouldn’t be upset and wondering why information was not on the transcript or captured in the call details unable to fathom the difficulty any dispatcher would have scrambling to add hand written notes to a dynamic emergency call for service because systems were down. 

So, I imagine broadband access for tribal communities would feel like the relief we collectively felt when our CAD system came back online. It would mean breathing a bit easier; feeling like the community and those that serve the community were just a little bit safer. It would mean an expanded sense of community and support as they would be able to better request, respond, and collaborate in emergency situations not just within their own community boundaries but those around them as well. 

Q: What does the absence of broadband access mean for tribal communities?   

A: An absence of broadband access means tribal communities are forced to be self-sufficient in scenarios or conditions where they could really use support and information available from any corner of the world. I was fortunate when COVID closures began, that I was working for a well-organized tribe that had access to broadband and had built the capacity to use it in a way that allowed them to respond to the emergency conditions and orders in a highly organized, swift, and well-rounded way. 

Even as employees nervously awaited updates at home, worried about their jobs and how they would feed their families, Tribal Leadership did something I had never seen done in nearly 20 years of civil service work. They took to making videos and sharing them via email and YouTube to relay information, status updates, messages of support, directions on next steps, and training so that teams could return to work safely. When they were not busy putting these messages together, they were busy scouring the web for information, in virtual meetings with experts, vendors, and health and safety consultants. 

When time is of the essence, how do you stay upright much less keep moving forward without the ability to communicate across multiple platforms, and communities without broadband? The one thing the COVID pandemic seemed to concretely solidify for people at large is that without access to broadband, large swaths of communities get left further and further behind and unable to participate, much less influence or compete, in today’s world economy. 

Q: What is the connection between broadband access and homeland security/emergency management issues in tribal communities?  

A: In both emergency management and homeland security, a rapid well informed, and coordinated response is imperative when an incident occurs. The best way to have a rapid well informed and coordinated response is with ongoing communication, research, and real-time information. In the midst of an incident, I can’t wait for maps to be found and delivered, or photos to arrive. Like other communities, tribes need to protect their infrastructure and waterways. The best systems today are technological in nature and require broadband to relay data like photos and video in real-time. 

Q: Why/how has the Department of Commerce’s NTIA OICG been so successful in tribal outreach on broadband access efforts? Can/should that model extend to other tribal initiatives?  

A: Our team has been successful in large part for two reasons. First, leadership thought outside of the box and focused on hiring high performers and go-getters from a variety of fields and expertise, including public safety and emergency management. I might be biased but I think our experience working in dynamic, fast-paced situations, absorbing high levels of data, while managing multiple stakeholders gives us valuable and unique experience that could benefit nearly any project in any field. They balanced that with team members with deep knowledge in broadband, policy, logistics, and administrative process and design. Second, they made sure those team members had knowledge and experience engaging with tribal communities. This project means broadband access and a widened field of possibility for the communities that we as tribal members and relatives come from, live in, and previously served. No one will work harder for a community than someone from that community or one just like it who understands the needs, the leadership structures, and the obstacles, both spoken and unspoken. Together the team understands the value of building and maintaining respectful trusted relationships to get things done. 

 Jeffrey Kozdron

 Q: What does adding broadband access mean to tribal communities?   

A: Adding broadband access to tribal communities represents the introduction of a vital service that addresses longstanding needs. It means bridging the gap in essential infrastructure, providing access to communication, resources, and opportunities previously unavailable. 

Q: What does the absence of broadband access mean for tribal communities?   

A: The inability to offer late 21st century services to the community including Telehealth, senior services, remote learning, employment, streaming community meetings, and information. For some communities, the only options may be DSL or a dial-up connection as satellite service is unaffordable. With telco companies ending support of traditional copper service this will further cut off connectivity.   

Q: What is the connection between broadband access and homeland security/emergency management issues in tribal communities?  

A: Broadband access plays a vital role in Tribal Public Safety, presenting unique challenges distinct from those encountered in urban or county settings. Tribal lands often span non-contiguous cities/counties or cross state lines, emphasizing the critical nature of communication for centralized dispatch services encompassing law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services. Additionally, broadband facilitates video conferencing for command staff and tribal leadership to share updates on planned events or incidents. Real-time video monitoring and analytical processing centers are enabled, supporting Tribal Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) during large incidents. Cloud-based programs like WebEOC are essential for coordination, as are the sharing of large data files such as GIS mapping updates for incidents. Moreover, broadband access enables the integration of public services and remote control of SCADA systems in critical infrastructure locations, such as water treatment plants, where timely responses are crucial, reducing the need for physically sending personnel to address minor changes, which could otherwise entail hours of driving. 

Q: Why/how has the Department of Commerce’s NTIA OICG been so successful in tribal outreach on broadband access efforts? Can/should that model extend to other tribal initiatives?  

A: Building a Team with such knowledge, experience, and dedication to Indian Country has been a major part in the success of this project and should extend to other initiatives.     

Theron Rutyna

Q: What does adding broadband access mean to tribal communities?   

A: Introducing broadband access to tribal communities signifies the arrival of a crucial service that enhances various aspects of infrastructure. This infrastructure encompasses critical domains such as Public Safety Communication, Public Works Monitoring, Building and Border Security, and continuity of government. 

In the realm of Public Safety Communication, the advent of 21st-century-level technology is a relatively recent development for many small, rural tribal communities, occurring within the past 5-8 years. The transition from traditional radio communication to data-driven communication revolutionizes Tribal public safety and disaster response efforts. The proliferation of wireless broadband facilitates instantaneous communication for public safety personnel, enabling the transmission of real-time photos and data, which significantly enhances response capabilities during emergencies. This technology facilitates swift resource allocation and aids in the access of office resources on-site, thereby bolstering response effectiveness to disasters, environmental emergencies, and enforcement issues. 

Public Works Monitoring is equally essential for rural tribal communities, encompassing the monitoring of SCADA systems, water inflow egress sensors, equipment data reporting, and maintenance logging. By leveraging data-driven technologies and broadband infrastructure, Tribal infrastructure employees can proactively identify and address potential problems, thereby averting crises that could be catastrophic for Tribal communities. Routine monitoring using data-driven systems, supported by broadband access, not only mitigates crises but also yields substantial cost savings for Tribal communities over short periods. 

Border security emerges as a significant concern for many Tribal nations. Modern surveillance equipment, reliant on broadband infrastructure, plays a pivotal role in monitoring Tribal borders and ensuring law enforcement and treaty enforcement. Broadband-enabled surveillance equipment provides real-time footage of activities within and around Tribal borders, enhancing the ability to track and report suspicious activities to law enforcement agencies, thereby bolstering border security efforts. 

The imperative of providing Continuity of Government for Tribal Nations became evident during the pandemic. Broadband infrastructure facilitated the continuation of government operations remotely when in-person meetings were compromised. High-bandwidth video communication enabled Tribal leadership to fulfill their obligations to the membership and ensured the uninterrupted operation of government functions. 

Q: What does the absence of broadband access mean for tribal communities?   

A: The absence of broadband access in tribal communities poses significant risks to community members, potentially jeopardizing lives. Across various domains such as Public Safety Communication, Public Works Monitoring, Building and Border Security, and Continuity of Government, the impact of lacking or disrupted broadband access is striking. 

Public safety communication infrastructure, reliant on broadband backhaul for data transmission to Public Safety Access Points (PSAPs), is vulnerable to disruptions. A loss of broadband feed to communication towers can instantly sever radio and cellular communications for all public safety personnel, endangering lives, especially in communities lacking analog backup systems. 

In Public Works Monitoring, equipment effectiveness diminishes during internet outages, leaving operators uninformed about facility conditions, particularly critical during emergencies. Communities without broadband service entirely lack insight into public works facilities until crises occur, impacting public health and safety. 

Building and Border Security heavily rely on broadband for surveillance equipment and access control. Communities without broadband access struggle to monitor security feeds, impeding efforts against drug and human trafficking on Native lands, as under-resourced law enforcement faces challenges best addressed by surveillance. 

The absence or disruption of broadband severely hampers the continuity of government operations, as exemplified during the pandemic. Tribal governments without effective broadband struggled to conduct business, impacting community services and activities across legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Many Tribal court systems were unable to operate, highlighting the critical role broadband plays in maintaining governmental functions and service delivery. 

Q: What is the connection between broadband access and homeland security/emergency management issues in tribal communities?  

A: Modern emergency management cannot occur without communications. Modern communications cannot occur without broadband access. The sunset and abandonment of analog voice communications is creating a public safety issue for rural Tribal communities. Broadband to these communities generally only has one path and no redundancy. As carriers are abandoning analog communication paths and moving voice communication to IP protocols, the cut to a community’s single broadband route cuts off not only the internet but also all phone communications. Depending on cell tower density and backhaul, the community will also likely lose cellular service. With modern public safety towers also backhauled by broadband, even radios will be non-functional. Most rural communities do not have a plan for this very real possibility and disruptions like this can be fatal during disasters and other public safety emergencies. 

Q: Why/how has the Department of Commerce’s NTIA OICG been so successful in tribal outreach on broadband access efforts? Can/should that model extend to other tribal initiatives?  

A: NTIA has been successful because it has employed individuals who are members of Tribal communities, former employees of Tribal communities, and those who have long experience in Tribal matters. Additionally, these individuals are geographically diverse and represent the geographic diversity of Tribes themselves. Tribal communities are very different from other municipalities in the United States, and understanding Tribes is key to being able to serve them at the federal level. Only those who have had direct experience with Tribes have the knowledge and experience to serve the Tribes. The model created by OICG should be replicated throughout the federal system to ensure that there is a cadre of individuals who have the knowledge and experience to speak to Tribal matters within the sphere of influence of the government entity that they are working for.

INQUIRIES: Heather Hollingsworth Issvoran, Communications and Recruitment | hissvora@nps.edu, 831-402-4672 (PST)

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