A brief intro to a story posted on the USFS Tribal Relations blog on October 5, 2020 by Sandy Marin, Forest Service Office of Tribal Relations:
“As the COVID-19 pandemic stunted business as usual in many ways, the Forest Service is still finding ways to meaningfully consult with Tribal Nations on planned projects. Throughout the pandemic, Forest Service has remained committed to serving the public and Tribal partners. Staff on the Santa Fe National Forest have truly embodied agency core values of safety, interdependence, and service through recent government-to-government consultations with the Pueblos of Tesuque and Jemez.
“The new reality of reduced physical interaction means being creative in offering high quality service to stakeholders. As part of the federal trust responsibility to Native American Tribal Nations, meaningful government-to-government consultation on any projects that may impact Tribal lands or a Tribal Nation’s ability to access culturally significant resources is a legal obligation. Face-to-face consultation is imperative to Tribal leaders in carrying out meaningful, and effective consultation.”