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Tlingit & Haida Central Council hosts 2010 EPA Region 10 summit in Juneau
Published: 09/02/2010 18:36:00
This week almost 500 people from Idaho, Washington, Oregon and across Alaska have come to Juneau for the 2010 EPA Region 10 summit, hosted by the Tlingit and Haida central Council. About 120 tribal leaders are in attendance to discuss various issues on this year's theme of climate change with a number of federal agencies present at the annual meeting.

Leilani Knight-McQueen, Environmental Specialist with the Tlingit and Haida Central Council told us about the event: "We've realized there are agency gaps in how tribes are able to access services. And so we've plugged in those other agencies, federal agencies that can assist tribes. And so we've really bought those people to the table. So what's different is in the planning that it's not just an EPA problem or it's not just a tribal program but all federal agencies are here in support of solutions about hearing tribes, learning what the needs are based on what tribes are saying and identifying. So it's local, western and traditional sciences being bought together."

As part of improving communication, one of the top issues at this year's conference is consultation.

"Consultation is a process where federal agencies have been mandated to engage in tribal input on policies or regulations that are about to impact our lands or our countries or our programs. Everything is connected to Mother Earth in everything that we do. So at the highest level of policy those decisions that come out of Congress, the EPA is charged and other federal agencies are charged to recruit and solicit the impact that it would have on tribes" explained Knight-McQueen.

The two-way consultation process helps facilitate active dialogues on issues between tribes and the federal government, which is the main goal of the summit.

By: Mikko Wilson -