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The Challenges of Meaningful Consultation and Collaboration The consultation process is an important component to building relations between the government and Native Americans. Put differently, the absence of consultation would necessarily constitute a violation of Native American rights, which would undermine self-determination. Many Coast Guard personnel who have worked with Alaska Natives can attest to the value of government-to-government consultations. However, it is worth asking if the consultation process, albeit valuable, is a sufficient mechanism to Chief Alfred Berryhill, from the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, speaks move toward Native American sovereignty and with members of the Deepwater Horizon response team during a 2010 self- determination. My own preliminary research government-to- government tribal consultation in New Orleans. U.S. Coast on meaningful consultation and collaboration with Guard photo by Petty Offcer Rob Simpson. Alaska Natives in the Arctic suggests that the current consultation process — although well-intenthe federal government also recognized that it had tioned—falls short. After speaking with a host of india responsibility to provide for and to protect Native viduals who are close to this issue, including Alaska American peoples and their interests. The solution Natives, my sense is that too often consultations are Congresscameupwithwasa"modifedtrustresponperfunctory exercises based on information-giving sibilit y" t hat cobbled and that they take place together these two cona f ter dec i sion s h ave tradictory doctrines. The "First Americans hold a unique place in already been made. While policy provided federal our history. Long before others came consultations do establish services and, simultaneto our shores, the first Americans had good will and friendship, ously, protected tribal sovereignty and resources. 3 established self- governing societies. they do not necessarily engage Native American Thisnotionofamodifed Among their societies, democracy peoples as equal parttruststilldefnestherelaflourished, long before the founding of ners who have a say on tionship between the fedthe issues that will ultiour nation." — Executive Order 13175 eral government and the mately affect them. For Native American tribes. many Alaska Natives, the consultation process is "broken." Moving toward self-determination, however, required Natives Americans to become more involved in the decisions that affect their lives and futures. This is recognized in U.S. laws and regulations including President Clinton's 2000 Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. PresidentClintonordered:"Ireaffrmour commitment to tribal sovereignty, self-determination, and self-governance by issuing this revised executive order on consultation and coordination with Indian tribal governments." 4 The goal: Institute meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials as a vehicle to uphold Native American rights to self-determination. This mandate, binding on all executive departments and federal agencies, has been supported by each president since. Most recently, President Obama issued an executive memorandum that required all federal agencies to develop a plan to implement Executive Order 13175. 52 Proceedings Fall 2013 My background work in Latin America focuses on environmentalconfictbetweenindigenouspeoples and the state in the Peruvian Amazon. However, when I describe some of the problems with the consultation process in the Peruvian Amazon, most are surprised to learn how similar the two cases are. In Peru, for example, one of the fundamental sources ofconfictbetweenthegovernmentandindigenous peoples is the ambiguity over the legal framework of consultation. The Peruvian government interprets consultation as a legal obligation to create dialogue, but one that does not prevent the government from implementing development projects without indigenous consent. Indigenous peoples, on the other hand, see consultation as a right, supported by national and international law, to actively pursue development www.uscg.mil/proceedings