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Tribal Nations Framing Questions


  1. Data sharing between Tribal Nations and non-tribal partners must ensure that there is free, prior, and informed consent of tribes and traditional knowledge holders participating in the collaboration, and tribally-led protections for traditional knowledges if they are involved in the data sharing agreement. Please see the Tribal Nations tool Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives to understand the protections needed for projects involving data sharing.
  2. The “Indian Lands” (BIA Indian Lands) dataset is difficult to correctly interpret, so please visit the DOI Indian Affairs Frequently Asked Questions to aid in understanding. Tribal Nations sovereignty ensures that any decisions with regard to their property and citizens are made with their participation and consent.
    1. There are two main types of Indian Lands labeled within the Indian Lands dataset:
      1. Federal Indian Reservation – an area of land reserved for a tribe or more than one tribe grouped together under treaty or other agreement with the United States.
      2. Trust Lands – an area of land for which the federal government holds title on behalf of a tribe or tribes through a federal statute or administrative action as permanent tribal homelands.
    2. There are several other types of land often embedded within each Indian Land boundary that are not individually delineated in the Indian Lands Dataset.
  3. The map of Judicially Ceded Lands (Indian Land Areas Judicially Established 1978) shows rough delineations of original areas occupied before these lands were ceded to the United States government by treaty tribes. Often, defined treaty reserved rights, such as hunting, fishing, gathering, and ceremonial rights may continue to be permitted in these areas.
  4. The federal Indian trust responsibility includes legally enforceable fiduciary obligations on the part of the United States to protect tribal treaty rights, lands, assets, and resources, as well as a duty to carry out the mandates of federal law with respect to American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages.

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