The City of Boulder conducts government-to-government consultations with federally recognized American Indian Tribal Nations.


City staff invited Tribal Representatives from American Indian Tribal Nations that share agreements with the city to participate in two online consultations on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, and Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, to continue conversations that occurred earlier this year. The city recognizes that several Tribal Representatives were not able to participate in the March 16 consultation this year. These two upcoming conversations will provide additional opportunities for Tribal Governments to share their guidance.

During the upcoming consultation, the city has invited Tribal Representatives to:

  • Continue discussing a proposed Memorandum of Understanding with American Indian Tribal Nations that focuses on use of city open space. The proposed MOU builds on past city-Tribal Nation consultations in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which led to current open space-related agreements the city shares with Tribal Nations and will consolidate past Memorandums of Understanding into one document.
  • Receive input and guidance on a ceremony to recognize and celebrate Indigenous Peoples connections to the Boulder area – including The Peoples Crossing.

City staff hope these follow-up conversations will provide a path for a consensus agreement on the updated MOU and a process for it to be presented to Tribal Governments and City Council for consideration and potential acceptance.

During the upcoming consultation, the city also will present updates about community Indigenous Peoples Day events the city is supporting this year. Staff are planning to communicate events that the city is helping to support on this webpage by mid-September. The planned conversations will help the city fulfill previous commitments city-Tribal Representatives agreed to in 2019, 2021 and 2022 consultations and will continue to help the city fulfill its Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution.

While the city recognizes the community interest in its consultations with Tribal Nations, consultations are generally closed to the public in order to facilitate government-to-government negotiations that may include sensitive topics. The city will publish a final statement pending Tribal Representative approval in October.

What is Tribal Consultation?

Federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations are sovereign governments recognized under the Constitution of the United States, treaties, statutes, Executive Orders and court decisions.

Tribal consultation is broadly defined as a process of meaningful government-to-government communication and coordination between U.S. government agencies and tribal governments before an agency takes actions or implements decisions (“undertakings”) that may affect tribes or tribal interests. Federal consultation practices have been established as federal government policy in several presidential directives (Clinton, G.W. Bush, Obama, Biden). Numerous states and municipalities have also sought to include input from Tribal Governments when their actions are thought to affect tribal interests.

The City of Boulder respects and honors American Indian Tribal sovereignty and self-determination and conducts government-to-government consultations with federally recognized Tribal Nations that share agreements with the city. The city follows federal and state consultation guidelines and guidance for consultations with Tribal Nations, including those that share agreements with the city. It also bases its consultation practices on direction and wishes provided by Tribal Representatives during ongoing consultations. City consultation with federally recognized American Indian Nations is also guided by the State of Colorado Tribal Consultation Guide prepared by the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs.

The city’s consultation framework with American Indian Tribal Nations is based on the agreements the city shares with Tribal Nations, discussions with Tribal Representatives and guidelines established by the federal government and the state of Colorado. The city recognizes and understands that it needs better standard practices to collaborate with local Indigenous community members on a broader, community-wide basis.

Consultation Final Statements

The City of Boulder requests the permission of Tribal Representatives to prepare and review a public statement that summarizes consultations conversations before it is released to the public.

Consultation Partners

The City of Boulder invited these American Indian Tribal Nations to participate in a March 2022 consultation:

  • Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma
  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
  • Comanche Nation of Oklahoma
  • Eastern Shoshone Tribe
  • Jicarilla Apache Nation
  • Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma
  • Northern Arapaho Tribe
  • Northern Cheyenne Tribe
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe
  • Southern Ute Indian Tribe
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation

Community Participation

As common with government-to-government consultations, the 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, such as sacred traditions and stories, along with the location of Native American cultural resources.

However, the city recognizes the public interest in citywide consultations with American Indian Tribes. 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. When in-person, 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.

City-Tribal Nation Agreements

The City of Boulder has four agreements with 13 federally recognized American Indian Tribal Nations, which were developed during previous consultations during the late 1990s and the early-to-mid 2000s. Broadly, these agreements recognize tribes and the city had common interests, including:

  • Preserving open space and cultural resources on city land.
  • Providing opportunities for ceremonial practices on city open space.
  • Notifying tribes if Native American cultural resources are inadvertently discovered on Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) land.  

The four agreements the city currently has with American Indian Tribal Nations are:

  • 1999 Memorandum of Understanding-A: The City of Boulder and American Indian Tribes agreed to create a spiritual and moral partnership for the protection of open space.
  • 1999 Memorandum of Understanding-B: The City of Boulder and American Indian Tribes agreed to obtain approval for a city-administered utility easement for an area at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and provide for a tribal monitor during then-proposed, ground-disturbing work. The city also agreed to provide reasonable fire protection services for permitted tribal cultural use of a protected area at NIST during fire bans.
  • 2002 Memorandum of Understanding: The City of Boulder and 13 Native American governments agreed to numerous provisions, which included: ​
    • That Tribal representatives would agree to provide cultural-resource evaluation and advice in support of open space acquisitions.
      • That Tribal representatives and the city agree to ongoing consultation about cultural resources on city Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) land.
      • That the City of Boulder agrees to, subject to annual appropriations, to host an annual consultation with the representatives in Boulder to facilitate an ongoing consultation contemplated by the agreement.
      • That members of the signatory tribes need no prior permission for pedestrian use of OSMP land.
      • That permitted ceremonies on OSMP land requiring fire and/or the building of a temporary structure, such as a sweat lodge or tipi, do require permission from the city and notice of such an event 30 days in advance of it occurring.
      • That bicycle and pedestrian trails, parking lots, plowing or cultivation or any mineral extraction, to the extent of city mineral ownership, on the city's Jewel Mountain property shall be reviewed by the Tribes prior to authorization by the city.
      • That inadvertent discovery of American Indian Resources on OSMP land, including funerary objects and human remains, shall be reported to the Tribes and protected by the city until they can be reviewed by Tribal Nations.