A trusted partner of Native American, Alaskan, and Hawaiian governments and organizations for more than 40 years.
SWCA assists clients in the public and private spheres in all aspects of Native community relations and consultation. We support project development that meets business and agency goals while upholding the values of the Native community traditions, and culture.
Native community and government engagement and relationship building are a core part of our practice and professional services. We work with clients, governments, communities, and agencies to address the essential needs of environmental planning, environmental quality, heritage preservation, and development.
We offer services from the highest level of federal policy implementation to robust ethnographic investigations in order to inform project design and permitting. We understand that cultural perspectives shape preferred policies and inform the actions of Native governments and their constituencies. Our specialists offer Tribal liaison and Native community-relation services, both for facilitating government-to-government consultation and for engaging Native governments and communities for private sector clients. Our specialists also support Native governments and community members in fieldwork, such as on-the-ground identification of traditional cultural properties.
- Consultation and Regulatory Process Support
- Tribal Field Survey and Monitoring Support and Training
- Traditional Cultural Place (TCP) Documentation and Evaluation with Tribes
- National Register of Historic Places and TCP Preservation Plan Development
- Ethnography, Ethnology, and Ethnohistory
- Cultural and Biological Assessments and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Consultation
- Natural Resource and Restoration Management Assistance
- Environmental Assessments and NEPA Support
- Environmental Justice
- Energy Sovereignty Support / Community Solar
- Tribal Historic Preservation Office Heritage Preservation Plan Development
- Grant-Writing Assistance and Funding Source Identification
- Preparation Assistance for Community Wildfire and Hazard Mitigation Plans
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) contracted SWCA to assist with preparing a Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement that will ensure future protection and restoration of the Bears Ears National Monument.
“We are excited by the opportunity to support the BLM and US Forest Service with the protection and restoration of the Bears Ears Monument and its objects. The entire landscape is of great historic, scientific, and spiritual significance and a place of belonging for the Indigenous Peoples from the Southwest,” said Chad Ricklefs, Principal Planning Team Lead out of SWCA’s Salt Lake City office.
Although the 2004 Power Fire in Northern California’s Eldorado National Forest occurred nearly two decades ago, recent grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provided an opportunity to restore the area’s ecology and strengthen partnerships between Native American communities and the U.S. Forest Service.
Spurred by long-standing consultation between local Native American Tribes and the Eldorado National Forest, in late 2019 the nonprofit organization American Conservation Experience selected SWCA as the environmental agency to partner with local Native American Tribes and the Forest Service on a conservation project using this funding.
SWCA Gives Back
SWCA launched a companywide Gives Back Campaign called Funds for Food to support organizations fighting for food security throughout the United States. AmpleHarvest.org, the recipient of SWCA’s matching grant, recently reached out to share the nationwide rollout of AmpleHarvest.org in Indian Country – a new program specifically built to overcome some of the informational and logistical difficulties other hunger/food waste programs confront in many Tribal communities.
Gary Oppenheimer, Ample Harvest.org Founder and Executive Director, comments on SWCA’s support in relation to this program:
“The incredibly generous donation from SWCA will greatly accelerate the rate of growth of the program in Native American Reservations nationwide and will be hugely impactful this year and for years to come in reducing both food waste and hunger/malnutrition in these communities.”
Contrary to what some may think – early engagement with tribal governments doesn’t weigh projects down with extra steps. Instead, it leads to a better path for the resolution of concerns, more efficient approvals, and fewer surprises once the project is underway. Tribal governments have always maintained their interest in the lands and resources important to the people they represent, their lives, spirits, and identity.
Following Their Footsteps: Routine Archaeological Investigations Reveal Glimpses of Ancient Lifeways
One summer, nearly 3,000 years ago, monsoon rains caused Rillito Creek in Tucson, Ariz., to overflow its banks and swamp a family’s fields at the confluence of the creek and the Santa Cruz River. As the water receded, a layer of sand was deposited, burying the footprints left by nine adults, two children, and a dog.
For native tribes in the area, the footprints were a missing piece to a puzzle that had been handed down by elders for generations. When members of the Tohono O’odham Nation visited the exposed trackways, several commented that this was the missing proof of all that they had been told – that their people have lived and farmed this basin for thousands of years.