NatureWorks: A blog of the California Natural Resources Agency

Strengthening Partnerships with California Native American Tribes

Osiyo (Greetings in Cherokee) and Happy California Native American Day!  

September 24, 2021 marks the 54th Annual California Native American Daya time-honored tradition in the California Native American community to celebrate culture, community, and resiliency. As the first-ever Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs for the California Natural Resources Agency, I am proud to help CNRA realize its mission to “restore, protect and manage the state’s natural, historical and cultural resource.” Through this work, we strive to fulfill the promise of the Governor’s apology to heal relationships with California Native American tribes and work to make Native communities whole.  

The first step is to strengthen partnerships with tribal nations on a government-to-government basis. Building these partnerships require early and meaningful consultations, integration of tribal priorities into policies and programs, funding tribal programs, and increasing opportunities for tribal co-management and access to lands and natural resources.  

  • To illustrate the Agency’s work in pursuing these goals: This year alone, CNRA has engaged over 60 tribes through formal government-to-government consultations and tribal listening sessions and have asked tribal representatives, Native scholars, and Native lead organizations to serve as expert panelists and participate in regional workshops as part of the implementation of Executive Order N-82-20 to enlist California’s vast network of natural and working lands in the fight against climate change. Consulting and partnering with California Native American tribes is essential to ensure tribal priorities and Traditional Knowledges are key components in the strategies and funding to help the state meet its goal of expanding nature-based solutions to address climate change.  

CNRA is committed to the work ahead to implement meaningful, reparative change throughout the state. We are continuously exploring opportunities to strengthen partnerships with tribes through early and meaningful consultations, integration of tribal priorities into policies, funding tribal programs, and increasing tribal co-management of and access to lands and natural resources. For all Californians, we must strive to build greater cultural awareness to better understand one and another and educate ourselves of the history and current lived experiences of California Native American tribes.  

As Governor Newsom said, “[w]e can never undo the wrongs inflicted on the peoples who have lived on this land … since time immemorial, but we can work together to build bridges, tell the truth about our past and begin to heal deep wounds.” On behalf of the Agency, I look forward to advancing meaningful efforts toward this goal and strengthening our partnerships with California Native American tribes. 


Wado (Thank you in Cherokee) and Happy California Native American Day!