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U.S. Geological Survey Activities
Related to American Indians and Alaska Natives
Fiscal Year 1998

Table of Contents | Tribal Governments | Organizations/Events | States | Introduction | Education | Environment | Resources | Technical Assistance | General Coordination and Policy | Future Opportunities | Contacts |


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is an impartial scientific organization that strives to produce scientific results that are relevant to the people of the United States and their land and resource managers. In cooperation with American Indian and Alaska Native governments, the USGS conducts research on water and mineral resources, animals and plants of environmental, economic, or subsistence importance, natural hazards, and geologic resources. Digital data on cartography, mineral resources, stream flows, biota, and other data sets are available to American Indian and Alaska Native institutions. The USGS recognizes the need to learn from and to share knowledge with Native peoples. This report describes most of the activities that the USGS conducted with American Indian and Alaska Native governments, educational institutions, and individuals during Federal fiscal year 1998. Some of the USGS activities are conducted in concert with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Others are conducted by Tribes and the USGS. In 1999, we are increasing the depth and breadth of USGS contacts with Indian educators. We are encouraging USGS offices to work with their local Native schools and colleges with the intention of completing at least two new formal partnership agreements during Fiscal Year 1999. On technical and scientific matters, the USGS is collaborating with Indian and Native governments in support of the independence and capabilities of those governments to manage their lands. The USGS is doing this by increasing the transfer of scientific information to American Indian and Alaska Native governments and by training employees of these governments to conduct and improve the conduct of scientific studies. The USGS is encouraging American Indians and Alaska Natives to pursue careers in science. The USGS is seeking ways to hire Indian and Native students. By identifying, improving, and disseminating information about hiring mechanisms available, the USGS intends to make hiring such students easier, and therefore more likely, for USGS managers.

The USGS is the Federal science bureau within the Department of the Interior (DoI). USGS is non-regulatory and is not a significant manager of Federal or Trust lands or assets. There are two types of USGS activities involving American Indians, Alaska Natives, and their lands. The first type is the course of formal studies, conducted through existing USGS programs. Our formal programs consist of specific data collection, investigative, and research projects. These projects frequently continue for two or more years, although a few are parts of longer-term activities. These are frequently funded through cooperative agreements or reimbursable accounts, from monies provided to the USGS by individual tribal governments or by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The USGS provides matching funds for cooperative projects. These formal projects may also receive funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Indian Health Service (part of the Department of Health and Human Services), or other Federal agencies. The USGS is working with its sister bureaus in the Department of the Interior to provide the scientific information and expertise needed to meet the Department's science priorities. Within this context, the USGS and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are cooperating to use USGS knowledge to the benefit of Indian and Native peoples and their lands.

The second type of activity is less formal, based on initiatives designed and conducted by USGS employees. Frequently involving educational activities, these endeavors are prompted by employee interests, often as collateral issues, resulting from an individual or group of USGS employees identifying and responding to an observed need. In these activities, our employees help us fulfill a mission of the USGS, to make science relevant, while helping our fellow citizens. USGS employees have also taken the initiative to assist American Indians and Alaska Natives through participation in several organizations. These organizations were created to foster the knowledge of science among Native peoples and to help build support and communication networks. One such group is the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). This group sponsors an annual national meeting in which USGS employees participate. USGS employees join this organization on a voluntary basis, paying the costs themselves, yet bringing the benefits of this expanded network to the USGS, as many employees do with other professional organizations.

Each part of the USGS has identified an American Indian/Alaska Native liaison. Within the USGS, we will use this report to help in developing outreach, educational, and program documents for use in future years. We hope that USGS employees, American Indians, and Alaska Natives will adapt these activities within new areas and will use the USGS contacts to expand the relevance of the USGS to more Americans.

This document was cooperatively prepared by:
Susan Marcus, USGS American Indian/Alaska Native Liaison
Lou Ducret, Water Resources Division American Indian/Alaska Native Liaison
Sharon Crowley, Geologic Division American Indian/Alaska Native Liaison
Cynthia Cluck, National Mapping Division American Indian/Alaska Native Liaison
Alexandra Hadley, Office of Program Support American Indian/Alaska Native Liaison
Hardy Pearce, Biological Resources Division American Indian/Alaska Native Liaison

You are welcome to contact us with any questions that you may have. Information on how to contact us can be found on

The contacts provided in the report were accurate at the time of publication. Please refer to the USGS Employee Directory or the Office of Tribal Relations contact page if you require information about a specific activity.

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