This report describes the activities that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted with American Indian and Alaska Native governments, educational institutions, and individuals during Federal fiscal year (FY) 2005. Most of these USGS activities were collaborations with Tribes, Tribal organizations, or professional societies. Others were conducted cooperatively with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) or other Federal entities.
The USGS is the earth and natural science bureau within the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). The USGS does not have regulatory or land management responsibilities.
As described in this report, there are many USGS activities that are directly relevant to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and to Native lands. A USGS website, dedicated to making USGS more accessible to American Indians, Alaska Natives, their governments, and institutions, is available at www.usgs.gov/indian. This website includes information on how to contact USGS American Indian/Alaska Native Liaisons, training opportunities, and links to other information resources. This report and previous editions are also available through the website.
The USGS realizes that Native knowledge and cultural traditions of living in harmony with nature result in unique Native perspectives that enrich USGS studies. USGS seeks to increase the sensitivity and openness of its scientists to the breadth of Native knowledge, expanding the information on which their research is based.
USGS scientific studies include data collection, mapping, natural resource modeling, and research projects. These projects typically last 2 or 3 years, although some are parts of longer-term activities. Some projects are funded cooperatively, with USGS funds matched or supplemented by individual Tribal governments, or by the BIA. These projects may also receive funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the Indian Health Service (part of the Department of Health and Human Services), or other Federal agencies. The USGS routinely works with its sister bureaus in the Department of the Interior to provide the scientific information and expertise needed to meet the Department’s science priorities.
Some USGS activities described in this report are conducted as collateral tasks that result from USGS employees identifying and responding to perceived needs. These endeavors are usually prompted by employee interests and frequently involve educational activities. The education is often a reciprocal learning and teaching experience for USGS employees and for Native participants. Through these activities, USGS employees help to fulfill a mission of the USGS—to demonstrate scientific relevance—while helping their fellow citizens. Increasingly, some of the educational activities are becoming parts of formal USGS projects.
USGS employees also take initiative in assisting American Indians and Alaska Natives by participating in several organizations that promote awareness of science career opportunities among Native peoples and help build support and communication networks. One such group is the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). USGS employees join this organization on a voluntary basis, bringing the benefits of this expanded network to the USGS, as many employees do with other professional organizations.
The studies briefly described in this report span subsistence issues, wildlife health, water quality, mineral resources, monitoring and modeling to gather information and predict what may happen in the future. Although each project description relates to Native Americans in some way, the projects vary widely, including who conducted the work, the goals and products, the duration of the study, and whether it was local or covered a broad area. Each major organizational unit of the USGS has identified an American Indian/Alaska Native liaison. The USGS has a regional organizational structure, with Western, Central, and Eastern Regions. The regions work in concert with specific scientific disciplines to carry out the scientific mission of the USGS. The scientific disciplines include Biology, Geology, Geography, Geospatial Information, and Water Resources. We encourage Native Americans and Alaska Natives to use the contacts listed at the end of this report to answer questions and help build collaborations.
Posted August 2007
Marcus, S.M., 2007, Activities related to American Indians and Alaska Natives, fiscal year 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1313, 116 p.