What We Do

NPS staff and tribal members talking around rocks in a desert
NPS tribal affairs staff visit the reservation of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona to discuss the NPS Plant Gathering Regulation. NPS staff were guests on a site visit, May 2018.

NPS Photo

The National Park Service (NPS) is a bureau within the Department of the Interior (DOI). The NPS manages more than 400 national parks and 100 related areas, as well as many programs that reach across the United States and the world. The Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA), within the Office of the Director of the NPS, strengthens relationships with Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Alaska Native communities.

The ONAA’s primary responsibilities are highlighted below:

Represents NPS Tribal and Indigenous Relations

The ONAA serves as a point of contact for Tribes, Indigenous peoples, regions, parks, and programs on tribal self governance topics and funding agreements under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA). Since 2011, approximately $27 million has been provided through annual funding agreements with self governance Tribes to accomplish maintenance, resource management, interpretation, and youth program activities in associated national parks.

There are currently 574 federally recognized Tribes. There are 202 Tribal Historic Preservation Offices that have entered into an agreement with the NPS. Find more information about the Tribal Historic Preservation Program.

Policy Development and Implementation

The ONAA develops NPS-wide guidance, and reviews proposed policy and legislation to advise and support the NPS Director, regional offices, and individual parks on issues that impact Native American, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian communities.

In addition, the ONAA collaborates with other Department of Interior bureaus to develop Department-wide and government-wide guidance on issues involving tribal governments. ONAA also participates in international efforts to join with Indigenous peoples to achieve common natural resource and cultural heritage preservation goals.

Tribal Consultation

The Native American Affairs Liaison is primarily responsible to ensure the NPS meets the requirements set out in the DOI Policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes. The ONAA works closely with tribal liaisons and tribal affairs staff in regions, parks, and programs to improve and support active tribal consultation. Consultations with Native Hawaiian organizations and Pacific Islander communities were also undertaken. In fiscal years 2018-2019, the NPS reported 3,531 tribal consultations with 237 Tribes, 34 Alaska Native Villages, and 13 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act corporations. The NPS currently supports 56 agreements with Tribes, with 17 others being reviewed for finalization.

Find contact information for your National Park Service tribal liaison.

Consultation on Development of an Agency Request for a Program Comment for Regular Maintenance, Capital Projects, and Leasing at National Park Service Mission 66-Era Facilities (1945-1972)

To inform development of the subject request, the NPS is accepting oral and written comments, and hosting virtual consultation meetings, with Indian and Alaska Native Tribes, and the Native Hawaiian Community, as well as a public general overview. The NPS developed a Program Comment conceptual overview, which summarizes its proposed application to provide an alternative path to compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act for NPS Mission 66-Era Facilities (1945-1972). It also lists proposed prohibitions on the use of the Program Comment, such as for undertakings planned to occur on or that may affect: Tribal lands; properties of religious and cultural significance to Indian and Alaska Native Tribes or Native Hawaiians; burial sites; human remains; funerary objects; and/or, battlefield areas which are listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The NPS is seeking comments on the conceptual overview and the proposed application of the program comment for NPS Mission 66-era facilities.

All comments received during consultation will inform the nature and scope of the NPS agency request to the ACHP, which the NPS plans to submit to the ACHP in 2024. The NPS request must specify: the types of undertakings to be covered; the likely effects on historic properties and the steps the agency official will take to ensure that the effects are taken into account; the time period for which the Program Comment is requested. It must also include a summary of comments received, including copies of any written comments provided by interested or affected Indian or Alaska Native Tribes or Native Hawaiians. The NPS anticipates that upon receipt of the agency request, ACHP will conduct its own consultation and then proceed with formal consideration by their membership of a final Program Comment.

All comments are requested by January 8, 2024.  Please go to the website to find out more ParkPlanning - Mission 66 Program Comment (nps.gov), including to access the conceptual overview, information on how to submit written comments, and to register to attend meetings. 

  • Public General Overview: Friday, December 1, 2023, at 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Eastern / 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Central / 1:00 -2:30 p.m. Mountain / 12:00 (noon) - 1:30 p.m. Pacific / 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Hawaiian / 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Alaska
  • Indian or Alaska Native Tribes, and the Native Hawaiian Community: Tuesday, December 5, 2023, 3:30-5:00 PM Eastern / 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. Central / 1:30 -3:00 p.m. Mountain / 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Pacific / 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 (noon) Hawaiian / 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Alaska

Find information about additional upcoming consultations at DOI.

Find transcripts, schedules and other resources from past consultations at DOI.

Consultation on Tribal Plant Gathering in National Parks

Find detailed information, including a briefing statement, guide to the plant gathering regulation, consulation letters, the consultation slide deck, and how to submit written comments. Written comments are requested by July 31, 2023.

Review a draft of the Indian Youth Service Corps Guidelines (852KB PDF).

The NPS follows DOI's Tribal Consultation Policy. DOI consulted with Tribal leaders to improve our consultation process, identify best practices, and strengthen our relationship with Tribal governments. Learn more about the DOI Tribal Consultation Policy. View the Detailed Plan for Improving Interior’s Implementation of E.O. 13175. 

Find resources for Tribal Consultation that relate to DOI-managed lands and programs, including memoranda, executive summaries, reports, studies, plans, and other resources.

Last updated: November 21, 2023