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Tribal Affairs

Tribal governments and their members are an essential part of our nation’s emergency management team. Effective relationships with tribes are necessary to fulfill FEMA’s mission of working together to improve our nation’s disaster preparedness and response. FEMA is committed to supporting Indian Country in its efforts to build more resilient and better prepared communities.

Along with the need to ensure the safety of tribal communities and tribal lands in the face of disasters, FEMA shares the U.S. government’s unique nation to nation relationship with federally recognized tribes. FEMA acknowledges the sovereignty of federally recognized tribes and is committed to enhancing our working relationship with tribal governments to improve emergency and disaster responsiveness throughout Indian Country.

This graphic shows a map of the United States, with tribes and territories called out. It features elements of nature like the sun, trees, and large birds.

2023 FEMA National Tribal Strategy Progress Report

FEMA’s first National Tribal Strategy redefines how the Agency will meet its treaty and trust responsibilities through building, enhancing, and sustaining our relationships with Tribal Nations.

FEMA has worked with Tribal Nations across Indian Country to implement the National Tribal Strategy by increasing in-person engagement with Tribal leaders, expanding tribal access to FEMA programs and services, and helping improve Tribal readiness and resilience against climate change and more frequent disasters.

Review the Progress Report

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Download the Strategy

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Learn more about training offered by the Center for Domestic Preparedness for the 9th Annual Tribal Nations Training Week.

Tribal Engagements

FEMA regularly meets with tribal leaders and tribal emergency management staff across the country to support disaster recovery efforts and better understand the challenges and needs of Tribal Nations.

In the first year following the launch of the 2022–2026 National Tribal Strategy, FEMA and Tribal Nation partners held over 260 engagements across Indian Country.

A map of the United States, including Alaska, with color coded dots corresponding to tribal engagements that were held by FEMA Headquarters and FEMA regional offices. The dots are scattered throughout Indian Country and represent over 260 engagements throughout Fiscal Year 2023.
Download the full Fiscal Year 2023 Tribal Affairs In-Person Engagements Map

Disaster Declarations

On January 29, 2013, President Obama signed the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013, which amended the Stafford Act. The Act included a provision to provide federally recognized Indian tribal governments the option to request a Presidential emergency or major disaster declaration independent of a state. 

Tribal governments may still choose to seek assistance, as they have historically, under a state declaration request. Below are some resources to help tribes understand the disaster declaration process, as well as the various disaster assistance programs they may receive. 


The FEMA Tribal Policy establishes how FEMA operates with regard to tribal governments and outlines a framework for nation-to-nation relations with tribal governments that recognizes tribal sovereignty, self-governance, and FEMA’s trust responsibility that is consistent with applicable authorities.

The FEMA Tribal Consultation Policy guides how FEMA engages tribal governments in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration on actions that have tribal implications.  

Tools and Resources

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Recent Updates: FEMA Efforts Advancing Community-Driven Relocation

On Nov. 30, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the launch of a new Voluntary Community-Driven Relocation program, led by the Department of the Interior, to assist tribal communities severely impacted by climate-related environmental threats. This subcommittee convenes federal agencies to explore key considerations, issues and strategies for community partnerships to support voluntary movement away from high-risk regions.

Read more in this fact sheet.


To acknowledge and honor the sovereignty of tribal nations, FEMA conducts regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal governments to ensure that FEMA policies and programs address tribal needs.

See Active and Past Consultations

Planning, Mitigation and Funding Assistance

Find resources for tribal governments related to individual and public assistance funding, hazard mitigation planning and preparedness.

See All Resources


The National Tribal Affairs Advocate is the interim point of contact between the FEMA Administrator, FEMA’s Regional Tribal Liaisons, and tribal governments across the country. The Advocate is part of FEMA’s Intergovernmental Affairs Division, which leads all tribal relations and tribal consultation at FEMA. The FEMA National Tribal Affairs Advocate is:

Kelbie Kennedy
500 C Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20472

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For any questions, technical assistance is available by contacting your Regional Tribal Liaison or FEMA Tribal Affairs.