Native American Affairs

Policy Laws and Regulations

“These principles recognize the importance of increasing understanding and addressing tribal concerns, past, present, and future.”

-DoD American Indian and Alaska
Native Policy, Preamble


Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) - The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 18, 1971. The settlement extinguished Alaska Native claims to the land by transferring titles to twelve Alaska Native regional corporations and over 200 local village corporations. A thirteenth regional corporation was later created for Alaska Natives who no longer resided in Alaska. ANCSA and related legislation produced changes in ownership of about 148,500,000 acres (601,000 km2) of land in Alaska once controlled by the Federal Government.

National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) - The National Historic Preservation Act is legislation intended to preserve historical and archaeological sites in the United States of America. The act created the National Register of Historic Places, the list of National Historic Landmarks, and the State Historic Preservation Offices. NHPA was signed into law on October 15, 1966. In 1992, amendments to the Act increased protection for Native American and Native Hawaiian preservation efforts.

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) - The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act was passed on November 16, 1990, and requires federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return Native American cultural items and human remains to their respective peoples.

Archeological Resources Protection Act - The Archeological Resources Protection Act was passed on October 31, 1979, and seeks to protect archaeological resources and sites which are on public lands and Indian lands, and to foster increased cooperation and exchange of information between governmental authorities, the professional archaeological community, and private individuals.

American Indian Religious Freedom Act - The American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed on August 11, 1978, and seeks to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent fight of freedom to believe, express and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.

DoD Policies

American Indian and Alaska Native Policy pdf [602 KB]

Updated January 2012. This Policy was issued in 1998 by then Secretary Cohen and asserts the principles for DoD interacting and working with federally-recognized tribes on a government.-to-government. basis. These principles establish the Department of Defenses American Indian and Alaska Native Policy for interacting and working with federally-recognized American Indian and Alaska Native governments (a). These principles are based on tribal input, federal policy, treaties, and federal statutes. The DoD policy supports tribal self-governance and government-to-government relations between the federal government and tribes. Although these principles are intended to provide general guidance to DoD Components on issues affecting tribes (b), DoD personnel must consider the unique qualities of individual tribes when applying these principles, particularly at the installation level. These principles recognize the importance of increasing understanding and addressing tribal concerns, past, present, and future. These concerns should be addressed prior to reaching decisions on matters that may have the potential to significantly affect protected tribal resources, tribal rights, or Indian lands. 

Alaska Implementation Policy pdf [277 KB]

DoD issued the Guidance in 2001. This guidance is designed to enhance the government-to-government working relationship between the Department of Defense (DoD) and Tribes in Alaska through the implementation of the Departments American Indian and Alaska Native Policy (AI/AN Policy) and resulting DoD Instruction 4710.02 in Alaska. This Guidance considers those situations and issues unique to Alaskas Tribes including application of trust responsibilities, renewable resources, land status and logistics of working on a government-to-government basis with 229 Tribes dispersed throughout Alaska.

DoDI 4710.03 - Consultation with Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs)

Updated December 2011 DoDI 47.03 - Consultatoin with NHOs, signed October 25, 2011, reissues DTM 11-001 as a DoD Instruction. It establishes policy, assigns responsibilities when proposing actions that may affect a property or place of traditional religous and cultural improtance to an NHO, and provides a framework for DoD Components to develop localized processes to facilitate consultation.

Guidelines on Maintaining the Confidentiality of Information about Indian Sacred Sites pdf [554 KB]
Interagency MOU: Coordination and Collaboration for the Protection of Indian Sacred Sites pdf [370 KB]

The U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Energy, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to improve the protection of and tribal access to Indian sacred sites. To meet the requirements of the memorandum, interagency teams will gather information, evaluate resources, and develop recommendations and additional tools that will enhance agency protection of Indian sacred sites. For more information please visit

Interagency Sacred Site MOU Extension
Interagency MOU Action Plan pdf [267 KB]
Sacred Site General Information July 2015
Sacred Sites Confidentiality Statement
Online Sacred Sites Training
Interagency MOU for the Protection of Tribal Treaty Rights Related to Natural Resources

DoD Instructions

These instruction guides implement policy, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for interactions with federally-recognized tribes. In addition to the umbrella policies and instructions of the DoD, many DoD Components implement further instructions regarding matters involving Native Americans and Alaska Natives, unique to their components.

DoD Instruction 4710.02 - DoD Interactions with Federally Recognized Tribes - Updated September 2018
Army Regulation 200-1 pdf [349 KB]
Navy Policy 11010 14A pdf [37 KB]
Marine Corps Order 5090 pdf [105 KB]
USACE Policy Guidance Letter No. 57 pdf [11 KB]
Air Force Instruction 90-2002 pdf [240 KB]

Executive Orders & Related Documents

Executive Order 13175 pdf [141 KB]

Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments, establishes regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have tribal implications, to strengthen the United States government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes, and to reduce the imposition of unfunded mandates upon Indian tribes.

Executive Order 13007 pdf [60 KB]
Executive Order 12898 pdf [20 KB]
Recognizing Tribal Sovereignty and Cultural Traditions
Working to Fulfill Federal Trust Responsibilities
Protecting Natural and Cultural Resources
Consulting with Tribal Nations