Support for Tribal Staff
How was this initiative born? Tribal members of the Society for Range Management’s Native American Rangeland Advisory Committee (NARAC), along with many Tribal representatives who helped build this model through focus groups, indicated that they wanted culturally relevant rangeland management training and capacity building for tribal staff. As tribal governments pursue self-determination in the management of their own natural resources, meeting the capacity building needs for their workforce will be critical. In addition, tribal range managers often need practical and engaging educational tools that are appropriate for their communities and tribal council members.
Support for Tribal Colleges
For some tribal colleges, natural resources programs can be costly, particularly because there are so many specializations that might require additional faculty members. Because of this, tribal students may not have access to courses that are required for federal, state, or tribal employment. This program was developed to help provide support for TCU’s that would like help in teaching rangeland management courses, or building their own programs.
As a result of this need, funding was acquired from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the US Forest Service to conduct a 4-year pilot project that would jump-start the Native American Rangelands Partnership through the following activities:
- Rangeland training courses and field workshops tailored for tribal/regional needs;
- Rangeland management tool-kits for outreach in both Native American and Hispano land-based communities;
- Inter-tribal informational website on rangeland management; and
- Evaluation for an accredited online soil and rangeland ecology course for tribal students.
In 2016 and 2017, we conducted brainstorming sessions with tribal and federal agency staff, tribal college personnel, students, and extension range managers that work on tribal lands. We used a process to identify the many disconnects and challenges associated with the management of tribal rangelands, which helped to narrow down a strategic approach for implementing these activities. This has been an evolving process, but is helping us to become more effective.