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U.S. Geological Survey Activities Related to American Indians and Alaska Natives
Fiscal Year 2002

Contents | Tribes | Organizations | States | Intro | Highlights | Education | Resource and Environmental | Technical | General Coordination and Policy | Future | USGS Contacts

General Coordination and Policy Activities

General National Mapping Program Activities. The USGS conducts the National Mapping Program of the United States. Cartographic, geographic, and remotely sensed information in digital, graphic, and image form are collected and distributed in support of Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments, private sector organizations, and the general public. Since 1994, the USGS has worked through the Interior Geographic Data Committee (IGDC) to identify topographic map revision and geospatial data requirements in support of high-priority Department of the Interior (DoI) programs and applications. This is accomplished through the DoI High-Priority Base Data Program, which is funded and administratively managed by the USGS National Mapping Discipline (NMD). Key program objectives include minimizing redundancy in the production of digital data and maximizing the number of customer requirements satisfied for each product generated. As part of this program, NMD annually solicits the DoI bureaus for their graphic revision and geospatial data requirements, and a working group of the IGDC selects the project areas where these base data are needed to support priority natural-resource and land-management issues in the upcoming fiscal year. Tribal requirements for USGS base data are typically gathered through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) area offices and submitted by the BIA as part of this process. In Fiscal Year 2002, NMD funds were used to produce digital base data and revised topographic maps to support the projects identified specifically by the BIA in the following States in the Central Region:

Montana - interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IFSAR) elevation data of the Crow Indian Reservation (Crow Tribe of Indians)
New Mexico - high-resolution National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) for parts of the Navajo Nation and the Pueblo of Zuni
North Dakota - high-resolution NHD data for part of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation (Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation).
Wyoming - IFSAR elevation data for the Wind River Indian Reservation (Northern Arapaho Tribe and Eastern Shoshone Tribe)

In addition to the above projects, an additional $1.0 million was used to produce high-resolution NHD data and to acquire color infrared imagery for the Texas portion of the U.S./Mexico Border project to meet the high-priority requirements of multiple DoI bureaus, including those of the BIA. This imagery will be used to produce digital orthophotoquads in Fiscal Year 2003. Contact: Gene Napier, 605-594-6088,

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). The USGS exhibited at the NCAI annual meeting in Spokane, Washington in November 2001. Information resources, materials, and contacts at the exhibit provided Tribal representatives with opportunities to build Tribal capabilities through data acquisition and management. USGS employees staffing the exhibit answered questions and helped USGS understand Tribal priorities. Contact: Susan Marcus, 703-648-4437,

Intertribal GIS Council. The Intertribal GIS Council (IGC) and the USGS, through its support of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), continued assisting the IGC in training and workshops on metadata and the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The USGS, FGDC, IGC, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are exploring opportunities to update Tribal boundary maps. Contact: Bonnie Gallahan, 703-648-6084,

Rural Geospatial Innovations in America. The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) through its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rural Geospacial Innovations in America (RGIS), will assist Federal, State, Tribal and local entities in implementing advanced geospatial information technologies to improve the quality of life, environmental health, and economics of rural communities. Implementing the MOU will include providing technical assistance in system development and management to Tribal colleges and universities, training programs including kindergarten through 12th grade education, short courses and university curricula, and advanced spatial analysis for decision-making processes. Contact: Bonnie Gallahan, 703-648-6084,

Biological Information for Committees of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission has established inter-agency committees to coordinate fishery resource management in individual lakes. The USGS Great Lakes Science Center and American Indian groups, such as the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority and the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, are represented on the committees for lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron. To assist Tribal and State fishery management agencies in assessing the success of fish restoration efforts, USGS and Tribal scientists report annually on the status of lake trout rehabilitation and important prey fishes in lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron. In addition, for the Lake Superior Committee, the USGS provided data and technical assistance. Contact: Rebecca Hayes, 734-994-3331,

Coordination with Tribal Organizations in Michigan. USGS staff attended quarterly Michigan Tribal Environmental Group (MTEG) meetings. The Michigan Tribes, the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5, the USGS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the State of Michigan, and other groups and agencies are represented in MTEG. MTEG meetings provide a forum for environmental issues pertinent to Michigan Tribes. The USGS also participates in quarterly Multi-Federal Agency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) meetings sponsored by the Midwest Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Federal agencies participating in the MOU workgroup include the BIA, the USGS, the Indian Health Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the EPA, which meet to cooperatively plan and coordinate Federal-Tribal activities in EPA's Region 5. Contact: Tom Weaver, 906-786-0714,

Water Resources and The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. In September 2002, the USGS met with environmental staff of The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians to discuss various water-resources issues. The USGS reviewed Tribal property boundaries and the parties discussed how the USGS could help address specific Tribal concerns. Afterward, five locations on the Reservation were visited, followed by further discussion about site-specific monitoring ideas (such as water-level measurements, pesticide sampling, land use changes, GIS, and ground-water flow modeling). Contact: Tom Weaver, 906 786-0714,

Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Natural Resources. Eight staff from the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Natural Resources toured the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center in October 2001. Along with learning about the USGS, the group heard a presentation on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service involvement with Tribal resource management. Contact: Mike Dewey 608-781-6206,

Understanding Fire in Southwestern Forests. Western Science and Traditional Knowledge. A dialogue was held at the Western Social Science Association (WSSA) meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in April 2002 to discuss the importance of traditional Native American knowledge in understanding and managing fire-adapted systems. A major focus of the discussion involved the ramifications of sharing knowledge, including the proprietary nature of some traditional knowledge and differences in perspective on this issue among different Tribes. Invited participants included members of the Santa Clara Pueblo, the Pueblo of Isleta, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Contact: Sandra Haire,

Wildlife Disease Issues in Fiscal Year 2003. Early in Fiscal Year 2003, USGS staff from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, will participate in the 20th Annual Pacific Regional Conference of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society in Worley, Idaho. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is hosting this meeting with the theme: "We shall protect what is ours, for future generations." USGS Center staff will sponsor a session and gave a presentation on emerging diseases including Chronic Wasting Disease, West Nile Virus, and Newcastle disease. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion. The following Tribes are expected to participate: Yakama, Umatilla, Nez Perce, Warm Springs (Wascot and Paiute), Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, Kalispel and Colville. In December 2003, the Center will host a workshop on surveillance strategies to detect CWD in wild elk and deer. A representative of the Bureau of Indian of Affairs (BIA) Great Plains Regional Office was invited to participate in this workshop. The USGS has been asked to present several additional wildlife disease workshops in 2003 as well as assist Tribes in the detection of CWD in their wild herds. Contact: Scott Wright, 608-270-2460, or Kathryn Converse, 608-270-2445,

Utah-Native American GIS Meeting. The Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC), a Utah State agency, sponsored a one-day meeting in August 2002 with GIS coordinators from Native American Tribes in Utah. The meeting was held to share information with Tribal members about the many GIS projects throughout Utah. AGRC managers also wanted to learn how AGRC could help Tribes with Tribal GIS operations. The Utah Framework Implementation Team Plan (I-Team Plan) was also discussed. This plan has helped AGRC develop a strategic plan for completing the 18 data theme layers that are critical to many issues in the State. The Tribes were encouraged to join this planning process. Representatives from other Federal agencies presented overviews of their GIS and geospatial programs in the State. The USGS Southwest Strategy Coordinator presented an overview of USGS projects with Tribes. USGS Geography and Water Discipline representatives gave respective overviews on The National Map, High-Resolution National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), and water delineation programs. An overview of the U.S. Census Bureau's modernization program was also presented. Contact: David M. Vincent, 801-975-3435,

Enhancing Tribal Relations Internal Training. "Enhancing Tribal Relations" was the theme of a 2-day training session for USGS Science Center, Region, and Headquarters personnel held in Tacoma, Washington. The session featured representatives of the Jamestown S'Klallam, Lower Elwha S'Klallam, Tulalip, Nooksack, Lummi, and Puyallup Tribes, as well as representatives from the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and the Washington State Governor's Office of Indian Affairs. A panel discussion of Tribal history and sensitivity to cultural differences was followed by breakout groups discussing field work on Indian lands, consultation in developing proposals, and ways of enhancing partnerships with Tribes. The USGS Washington Water Science Center and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Tribal Program hosted the training. Contact: Cynthia Barton, 253-428-3600, ext. 2602,

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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