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Tribal Consultations

This section contains information about the Agency's active and past consultations with federally recognized Indian tribal governments (tribal governments). FEMA recognizes the nation to nation relationship between the U.S. government and federally recognized tribes. 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.

FEMA's Tribal Consultation Policy, updated in July 2019 with input from tribes, outlines the process that FEMA officials use to conduct consultation with tribal governments.

Current Consultations

FEMA is currently seeking input from federally recognized Indian tribal governments on specific provisions of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA).  DRRA reforms acknowledge the expectation of a shared, whole community responsibility for disaster response and recovery, while readying the nation for catastrophic disasters. To fully implement the DRRA, FEMA must issue numerous policy or regulation changes to existing emergency management statutes. For more information on this current consultation please visit the DRRA Consultation page. Additional information on DRRA can be found by visiting the DRRA website.

Past Consultations

These are records of past FEMA tribal consultations in chronological order. These documents are no longer open for comment.

  • Consultation on Procedures to Request Emergency or Major Disaster Declarations (March-April 2013).  This consultation requested tribal comment on the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 and on the new process for tribal emergency and major disaster declarations.
  • Consultation on the Tribal Consultation Policy (October 2013 - August 2014). FEMA created a draft tribal consultation policy and sought feedback from all federally recognized tribes. The tribal consultation policy establishes a process to guide FEMA officials on how to engage tribes and tribal Officials in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration on actions that have tribal implications. The final policy was published in August 2014.
  • Tribal Declarations Pilot Guidance First Draft (April - August 2014) This guidance describes how FEMA will process and evaluate requests from tribal governments for a disaster declaration, independent of a state. FEMA developed the first draft of guidance, using input from tribal governments in 2013.
  • Tribal Declarations Pilot Guidance Second Draft (January - April 2016) FEMA conducted a third round of consultation on the second draft guidance with tribal governments through listening sessions throughout the country in 2016. The input received will be used to develop the final guidance. Federal Register Notice. For more information, please visit the Tribal Declarations Pilot Guidance page.
  • FEMA Seeks Comments on PDA ManualFEMA is seeking comments from state, tribal, and local emergency management practitioners on the draft Preliminary Damage Assessment Operating Manual. The manual establishes national damage assessment standards developed from historic lessons learned and best-practices already in use by local, state, tribal and federal emergency management agencies. The draft manual is posted on the FEMA website. Comments should be added to the comment matrix and submitted to comment period will be open to Tribal Nations and the broader public until November 14, 2015. 
  • The FEMA Tribal Policy was revised and updated following the tribal consultation period from August 22, 2016 to October 28, 2016. The policy was updated to supersede the previous FEMA Tribal Policy, which was effective from 2013-2016. The policy was updated based on tribal input, current authorities, key policy questions, and continued efforts to improve the Agency’s nation-to-nation relationship with tribal governments. The updated policy can be found here.
  • The Tribal Mitigation Plan Review Guide “Key Concepts” document is out for comment and posted on FEMA’s Website. This 7-page document summarizes key concepts and questions that FEMA seeks tribal governments' input on to inform an update of the Agency's policy on tribal hazard mitigation planning.
  • FEMA Tribal Consultation Policy (June - August  2017).  FEMA updated the Tribal Consultation Policy which guides how FEMA engages tribal governments with regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration on actions that have tribal implications. The policy was updated to reflect current authorities, best practices, the recommendations from the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) report titled "Tribal Consultation: Additional Federal Actions Needed for Infrastructure Projects (GAO-19-22)", and tribal input. This updated policy supercedes the FEMA Tribal Consultation Policy dated August 12, 2014 and all previous guidance on the subject. For more information on the consultation, please visit the Tribal Consultation Policy Update page.

Submitting Comments

Do you have questions or feedback on current consultations? Please email contact your Regional Tribal Liaison or email


Last Updated: 
07/23/2019 - 16:26