Governor Walz Signs Executive Order Expanding Tribal-State Consultation

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ST PAUL, MN- Governor Tim Walz latest executive order sets the framework for consultation between his administration and Tribes in Minnesota. The order, which was signed late in the day on April 4, replaces and expands upon an order issued by former Governor Mark Dayton in 2013.

“This order ensures the State of Minnesota and the eleven tribes engage in true government-to-government relationships built on respect, understanding, and sovereignty,” said Governor Walz. “We are committed to meaningful consultation with the tribal communities in our state.”

Walz reiteration of the order adds fifteen new agencies to the original eleven required to develop these policies.

The tribal liaisons will work with MN Tribal Nations to identify priority issues and submit them to the Minnesota Office of the Governor by October 1st of each year. It also includes a requirement for a wide range of state employees to attend tribal and state relations training. The order sets a deadline of June 30th, 2019 for the listed state agencies to implement tribal consultation policies.

MN Department of Transportation Tribal Liaison and Leech Lake Band Member, Levi Brown said the executive order is a great step forward and that any person working with or alongside Indian Country should have tribal relations training to be successful.

“Too often there’s government conflict between state and tribal nations when there doesn’t have to be, and a lot of it is due to miscommunication and misunderstanding. A liaison can provide context on why an issue is important to a tribal nation, where a decision might be coming from and provide a communication line between a Commissioner of an agency and Tribal leadership. That line of direct communication is vital to a healthy, working relationship,” said Brown.

The signing was announced yesterday at White Earth’s “State of the Nation” address, where Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan was a guest speaker. Flanagan spoke on behalf of both herself and Governor Walz when announcing the Executive Order and their budget proposal.

“It is time for policy being done to Indian people to stop, and for policy to be done in partnership with Native Nations to begin and continue,” said Flanagan while addressing the tribe.

Flanagan stated that their budget proposal reflects the administration’s shared values, and that they will need everyone’s full support to get their proposal through legislature. Native issues prioritized in Governor Walz budget proposal include: support of traditional healers, investment in Tribal contract schools, holistic services to incarcerated band members, Indian Child Welfare, and providing full funding for the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Task Force. Flanagan cited the task force and protection of Native women as one of the reasons she herself ran for office.

“One of the reasons I decided to run for Lieutenant Governor—because no little girl grows up thinking I want to be the second most powerful person in the state of Minnesota but the reason I did it, because too often our Native women at best, are invisible and at worst, are disposable and that is why I decided to run.

You have to see us, you have to value us, you have to support us and this investment in missing murdered Indigenous women is one of the best ways for us to ensure that our Native women are not forgotten and that they are loved and they are valued,” said Flanagan.

Lieutenant Governor Flanagan closed out her speech Thursday by presenting a signed proclamation from Governor Walz which designated Thursday, April 4th, 2019 as “Terrence Tibbetts Day” in honor of the late White Earth Tribal Chairman.

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