In the summer of 2013, WACD President David Guenther appointed a Tribal Outreach Task Force to provide increased communication and cultural exchange with our state’s tribal nation members sharing similar interests in natural resources conservation. This effort came after a listening session at the 2012 WACD Annual meeting between state and national conservation officials with tribal representatives from the Yakama, Cowlitz, Colville, Quinault, and Swinomish tribes.
Since the task force began, WACD has dedicated time and resources each year to stimulate dialogue and increased cooperation between conservation districts and the tribal nations.
- In partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, WACD hosted over 60 participants in a five day conference focused on building partnerships with tribal nations and a focused understanding on what “Working Effectively with American Indians” really means. See our September 2018 Newsletter and a reflections piece written by conference participant Larry Davis for more details.
- WACD President Jeanette Dorner and Executive Director Patricia Hickey attended the inaugural Billy Franks Jr. Pacific Salmon Summit at the Tulalip Resort Casino.
- The National Association of Conservation Districts established the Tribal Outreach and Partnership Resource Policy Group, co-chaired by Washington State supervisors Michael Crowder (Benton CD) and Tanna Enghald (Clark CD) and based on the example of WACD’s Tribal Relations Committee.
- In partnership with the Washington State Conservation Commission, WACD hosted former Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Del Laverdure for a one day intensive training session on promoting better skills and strategies for working with sovereign tribal nations. Participant Larry Davis wrote of his experiences from that day.
- Recognizing the completion of the Skokomish Estuary Restoration Project, WACD awarded the Mason Conservation District and the Skokomish Indian Tribe with the 2017 WACD Conservation District Tribal Partnership Award for their shared vision and long-term partnership in caring for critical habitat in Mason County.