Tribal Policy

Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists perform during Native American Day on the south steps of the California State Capitol.

Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists perform during Native American Day on the south steps of the California State Capitol. DWR/2017

California Native American tribal governments and tribal communities have sovereign authority over their members and territory and a unique relationship with California’s resources. California tribes and tribal communities, whether federally recognized or not, have distinct cultural, spiritual, environmental, economic, and public health interests and valuable traditional cultural knowledge about California resources.

DWR is committed to open, inclusive, and regular communication with tribal governments and communities to recognize and understand their needs and interests. We ensure effective communication and government-to-government consultation, creating a channel for tribal governments to provide input at all levels into the development of regulations, rules, policies, programs, projects, plans, property decisions, and activities that may impact tribal communities.

The inclusion of tribes and tribal communities throughout the decision-making process promotes positive, achievable, and durable outcomes. We work with tribal governments and communities to identify areas of mutual concern, develop partnerships, and consensus in water management. We’ve created numerous forums to ensure tribal perspectives on land, water, and cultures are considered.

DWR's Office of the Tribal Policy Advisor is the central point of coordinated communication and consultation with California Native American tribes to ensure proactive and meaningful consultation. This includes dedicated communication and outreach such as meetings, workshops, and advisory committees. We strive to continue effective collaboration and informed decision-making where all parties share a goal of reaching a decision together with common values such as:

  • Working to restore, protect, and manage the State’s natural resources for current and future generations
  • Use creative approaches and solutions based on science and tribal ecological knowledge
  • Develop strategies for preserving California Native American tribes’ water rights and providing for the sustainable management of California’s sacred waters
  • Demonstrate a respect for all communities, resources, and interests and an open and free exchange of information


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The State Water Board and California Department of Water Resources invite the community to attend workshops about the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) drinking water program and the opportunities available to California Native American Tribes.