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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.

2022-2026 National Tribal Strategy

2022-2026 FEMA National Tribal Strategy

The National Tribal Strategy provides FEMA and Tribal Nations with the necessary roadmap to pursue and achieve shared priorities to support tribal communities before, during and after disasters. FEMA developed the strategy to address its responsibilities to build, enhance and sustain its relationships with tribal communities.

Download the strategy

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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.