The Departments of Agriculture and Interior are out with a handful of new programs they say will enhance the federal government’s effectiveness in serving tribal audiences.

The news was announced at Monday’s White House Tribal Nations Summit and includes programs touching on issues ranging from food security to broader tribal recognition within government agencies.

In a statement, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the new initiatives would “reframe and reimagine how USDA supports Indigenous agriculture and tribal communities. These are among the bold actions by the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that USDA appropriately engages tribal nations in a way that aligns with their sovereignty and our nation’s trust and treaty responsibility.”

A USDA release made special mention of a new USDA Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative, which will promote “traditional food ways, Indian Country food and agriculture markets, and Indigenous health through foods tailored to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) dietary needs.” The program will involve partnerships with tribal authorities “to reimagine federal food and agriculture programs from an Indigenous perspective and inform future USDA programs and policies.”

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USDA is also committing to “expanding tribal self-determination,” which will allow for “greater self-governance and decisionmaking on USDA programs and policies that affect tribal nations.” USDA cited authorization from the 2018 farm bill and said the first set of tribal demonstration projects has already gone into effect.

USDA and DOI also announced a Tribal Treaty Database, which aims to provide online access to  treaties and “assist federal agencies with implementing treaty obligations.” USDA also plans to create a new Hall of Tribal Nations, which will include tribal flags and Native artwork.

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