Advanced Search

Cherokee Indians in NC sign first pact with US Forest Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has signed 11 co-stewardship agreements with 13 Indian tribes as part of the agency’s commitment to protecting tribal interests in the lands they value as part of their culture and history. This is the first time the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have entered into a historic Tribal Forest Protection Act agreement – the first ever signed in the Forest Service’s Southern Region. The remainder in this batch of agreements- 60 with 45 tribes - are all in the western U.S.
Coupled with the signed Good Neighbor Agreement, the collective work integrates cultural and traditional ecological knowledge with silviculture and fire management to inform best management practices for basket-quality white oak trees and other culturally important forest products. This work also reduces fire risk, restores oak forests, improves wildlife habitat, creates early successional habitat, promotes cultural tourism and recreation, and reduces risk to tribal trust lands.

Co-stewardship agreements like these promote an approach to managing national forests and grasslands to protect the treaty, religious, subsistence, and cultural tribal interests of federally recognized Indian Tribes and include caring for forest and watershed health, restoring fire-adapted ecosystems, integrating traditional knowledge into land management decision-making, and protecting cultural resources, treaty rights, wildlife habitat, food sovereignty, and ceremonial and traditional activities.

In addition to the 11 co-stewardship agreements being announced today, there are 60 more in various stages of review involving 45 Tribes. Federally recognized Tribes are sovereign nations with long-standing government-to-government relationships with the federal government. .

The Forest Service is entrusted with managing more than 193 million acres of land and waters that are the traditional territory previously managed by Tribes for thousands of years. These lands are home to sacred religious and burial sites, wildlife, and other sources of indigenous foods and medicines. Much of these lands are in areas where Tribes have reserved rights to hunt, fish, gather and practice their traditional ceremonies based on ratified treaties and agreements with the federal government, the news release said.

The 11 signed co-stewardship agreements represent a snapshot of the co-stewardship commitments of the USDA.

Link to This Article

Copy and paste the code below on your site to link to the article.

<a href="">Cherokee Indians in NC sign first pact with US Forest Service</a>

Follow Us on Twitter!/bullrunnow
Welcome Guest! | Login