News Release

USDA to Host Second American Indian Sacred Sites Listening Session

Washington
February 1, 2011 -

The USDA Forest Service will conduct a second national listening session focusing on department policies and procedures for Indian Sacred Sites on Feb.14, 2011. The overall goal of this initiative is to hear about how to integrate department and agency policies for sacred sites to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands for current and future generations.

Harris Sherman, Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment, and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, have encouraged tribal leaders and citizens to actively participate in these national and local sessions. The first national session was held Nov. 29, 2010, to kick off this initiative, and attracted more than 200 participants.

The USDA Forest Service will provide multiple opportunities throughout the course of this effort for members of Tribes and others to meet face-to-face through local, in-person listening sessions. In addition, government-to-government consultation with federally recognized tribes are planned for summer 2011 to receive input and recommendations on a draft report to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, which will be developed based on results of the listening sessions.

Those wishing to participate can call on February 14 between 2 and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time:

Call in Number: (888) 469-1285

Passcode: 5116673#

Throughout this initiative, comments about sacred site policies can be e-mailed directly to TribalSacredSites@fs.fed.us. Additional information about this effort is available at www.fs.fed.us/spf/tribalrelations/sacredsites.shtml.