As part of President Obama’s commitment to honoring Government-to-Government relationships with Tribal Nations, the federal government is continuing to strengthen its relationships in Indian Country. The Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Defense, Interior, and Energy joined the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation and released an action plan to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding interagency coordination and collaboration for the protection of Indian Sacred Sites.
Last week during the National Congress of American Indian’s (NCAI) Executive Council Winter Session, USDA Deputy Undersecretary, Arthur “Butch” Blazer, announced that he will help lead USDA’s efforts for the implementation of the MOU. Due to his expertise Blazer is the ideal choice to lead the USDA component of the Action Plan. Prior to his position at USDA, Blazer served as the New Mexico State Forester where he was the first Native American to hold that position. During his tenure as State Forester, he was also named as Chair of the Council of Western State Foresters and Co-Chair for the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. A member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, he was also his tribe’s lead forestry official and has been intimately involved in Tribal issues throughout his life. Read more »
America’s farmers are among our first and finest conservationists. At USDA, we support their work to protect natural landscapes, improve water and air quality, and preserve wildlife habitat, forests and soil.
In addition to environmental benefits, this work helps drive economic growth and creates good, middle class jobs – particularly in rural communities. Farmers who help the environment improve their bottom line. Fishing, hunting, hiking, boating and other outdoor recreation adds $730 billion to our nation’s economy each year and supports millions of jobs.
That is why President Barack Obama launched his America’s Great Outdoors initiative to help re-connect Americans with the outdoors and create local partnerships focused on the long-term health of our nation’s landscapes. In the past months, as part of that effort, USDA took steps to work with landowners, farmers and ranchers conserving these lands while promoting outdoor recreation opportunities that create jobs and drive economic growth. Read more »
Southwest small business owners will have an opportunity in September to learn how to grow and support their businesses by partnering with USDA and the Department of Interior (DOI).
The meeting, in New Mexico, supports the White House Initiative on Small Business Contracting. Read more »
Male sage-grouse gather in Central Montana and perform competitive displays to attract females.
“What’s good for the birds is good for the cows,” says Duane Coombs, ranch manager for Smith Creek Ranch in central Nevada. That’s why Coombs and his neighbor on the other side of the Desatoya Mountain Range are working to restore habitat for the western sage-grouse, a chicken-sized bird that is being considered for endangered species listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sage-grouse are a keystone species for the sagebrush ecosystem. Read more »
Members of the Tribes already know this, but President Obama, Secretary Vilsack and members of this Administration take very seriously the need to work with Tribes on a government to government basis, and to provide the Tribes with the technical and economic support they need not just to survive, but to grow, prosper and thrive. This commitment from the Administration provides me and this department with the opportunity to do great things in concert with First Americans. Read more »
Today marks a historic event. Alaska Native and Native American leaders are scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, held at the headquarters of the Department of Interior in Washington. Among those scheduled to attend from USDA are Secretary Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and Janie Hipp, senior advisor to the Secretary for tribal relations. Read more »