As common with government-to-government consultations, City of Boulder-Tribal consultations are typically closed sessions in order to facilitate conversations among city staff, Tribal Representatives and elected and appointed community leaders. Those conversations may include sensitive topics.

The city recognizes the public interest in citywide consultations with American Indian Tribal Nations. City staff seek permission from Tribal Representatives to develop a joint city-tribal statement at the end of each consultation. City staff create these collaborative statements in partnership with Tribal Representatives to inform community members of conversations that occurred. When the city hosts in-person consultations, there is also an effort to provide community members the opportunity to attend pre- and post-consultation discussions, such as the opening and closing sessions.

2022 Final Statement

The City of Boulder appreciates the opportunity to listen and learn from Tribal Representatives from federally recognized American Indian Tribal Nations during a government-to-government consultation with the City on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. The City thanks Tribal Representatives and Tribal Elders who have spoken with the City in the past. Their guidance and insights helped set the context for Wednesday's consultation and continued conversation and collaboration with Tribal Nations in the future.

During the consultation, City and Tribal Representatives continued discussions that occurred during last year’s consultation. We appreciate the opportunity to review and collaborate on an updated City-Tribal Nation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), recognizing Tribal Representatives are busy consulting with federal, state, and local agencies across the country.

The proposed MOU builds on past City-Tribal Nation consultations that occurred in 2002, 2004, 2019 and 2021, and will consolidate past Memorandums of Understanding – which were initially developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s – into one document. The city recognizes that some Tribal Nations could not participate in the March 16 consultation and will provide those Nations additional opportunities to comment on the MOU before potentially presenting a revised agreement to Tribal Governments for their consideration for acceptance.

Broadly, the MOU seeks to:

  • Invite Tribal Nations to participate in ongoing consultation and guidance on cultural resources on Open Space and Mountain Parks land to avoid significant impacts and identify areas where projects and activities may require tribal notification.
  • Notify Tribal Nations of inadvertent exposure or disturbance of human remains.
  • Continue to provide a permit process for Tribal Nation ceremonial access – outlined in 2002 and 2004 city/Tribal Nation agreements – that requires fire and temporary structures. The City also will explore the possibility of a dedicated, permanent site on City land for Tribal Nation use for sacred ceremonies.
  • Develop a process for the limited harvesting of plants on city land for personal use by Tribal members – such as medicinal and ceremonial practice – that will be discussed at a future city/Tribal Nation consultation.
  • Collaborate on education and interpretation materials that provide accurate, truthful Indigenous Peoples’ stories – both past and present – through educational and interpretative materials, such as signage and education curriculum.
  • Ensure that no more than four years lapse in between consultations.

During the March 16, 2022, consultation, City staff also received feedback on a proposed Indigenous artist fellowship managed by the Boulder Office of Arts and Culture. This effort is intended to support Indigenous artists and to use art to help the Boulder community understand the critical connection Indigenous Peoples have with local ecosystems and how their knowledge can guide land stewardship practices and future climate action.

The City thanks consultants Ernest House, Jr. with the Keystone Policy Center and Jessica Yaquinto and Christina Callicott with Living Heritage Anthropology for their continuing assistance in helping the City conduct government-to-government consultations with Tribal Nations.

The City of Boulder thanks Tribal Nations for their participation in City consultations and for the collaborative progress we have made together. However, the City of Boulder recognizes it has much more to do to maintain meaningful action for Indigenous community members and our American Indian Tribal Nation Partners.