Orders and Policies

Article 31.1-2 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states: "Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights."

Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC), 2003: Extracts from Durban Accord and WPC Recommendation on Cultural and Spiritual Values, states: "Many societies, especially indigenous and traditional peoples, recognize sacred places and engage in traditional practices for the protection of geographical areas, nature, ecosystems, or species, as an expression of societal or cultural choice and of their worldview of the sacredness of nature and its inextricable links with culture. They also recognize sacred places as a unique source of knowledge and understanding their own culture thus providing what could be considered the equivalent of a university."

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) passed two resolutions, REN-13-035 Request for Federal Government to Develop Guidance on Recognizing Tribal Sovereign Jurisdiction over Traditional Knowledge and resolution PDX-11-036 Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Climate Change, that address the importance of TEK and the processes the federal agencies use and considerations federal agencies should have when approaching and/or working with Tribes and their TEK on climate change and other topics.

The 1916 Organic Act requires the NPS to manage lands, objects and wildlife under its purview for future generations;the Department of the Interior Mission calls for honoring the trust responsibilities to Indian Tribes;and the NPS Mission directs its employees to involve partners in natural and cultural resource conservation.

National Park Service 2006 Management Policies provides for employees to include applicable traditional knowledge that will help park managers accomplish park objectives. https://www.nps.gov/policy/mp/policies.html

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Integrity of Scientific and Scholarly Activities Policy
To: All Department of the Interior Employees
From: Michael L. Connor
Subject: Department of the Interior Integrity of Scientific and Scholarly Activities Policy

Science is at the heart of the Department of the Interior’s (Department) mission, and a strong policy to ensure quality scholarship is critical. In 2011, the Department became the first Federal agency to establish a scientific integrity policy in response to President Obama's directive on sound departmental science policies. Since then, the Department has led Federal efforts to ensure robust scientific integrity, and our scientists and scholars continue to be widely recognized for their excellence and high standards. By providing guiding principles and clear expectations for conducting good science, the subject policy creates an enduring culture of sound scientific investigation.

In accordance with the subject policy, the Deputy Secretary provides leadership to the Department on scientific integrity and ensures Departmental compliance with the policy (305 DM 3.6A). In this capacity, I am issuing the following reminders to all Departmental employees:

  • Part 305 Chapter 3 of the Departmental Manual provides Department-wide policy to guide and ensure the integrity of science and scientific products developed and used by the Department. It also includes: 1) a code of conduct applicable to those engaging in scientific activities; 2) requirements for the use and dissemination of scientific information; and 3) identification and assignment of the responsibilities to carry out the functions listed above (305 DM 3.1).
  • The Department continues to support a developing culture of scientific integrity. All Departmental employees are encouraged to abide by the Code of Scientific and Scholarly Conduct (305 DM 3.7A) and speak up should any scientific integrity issues arise. The policy also contains information about protection for whistleblowers (305 DM 3.4A(11) and 305 DM 3.4C).
  • Bureau Scientific Integrity Officers (BSIOs) conduct formal scientific integrity investigations (305 DM 3.6F(3)). They also serve as bureau scientific integrity ombudsman for “fostering effective communication and acting as an intermediary and source of information, as well as providing advice, and guidance on the scientific integrity policy” (305 DM 3.6F(7)). Current BSIO contact information can be found at:https://www.doi.gov/scientificintegrity/Scientific-Integrity-Officers
If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact Mr. William H. Werkheiser, DOI Scientific Integrity Officer at (703) 648-7412 or e-mail us.

Last updated: December 19, 2017