Our Nation has long recognized the sovereign status of Indian tribes. The United States Constitution specifically addresses tribal sovereignty by classing Indian treaties among the "supreme Law of the land", and establishes tribal affairs as a unique focus of Federal concern. Federal recognition of an Indian Tribe constitutes designation of a Native community as a political sovereign within the U.S. Federalist system. As a result, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), as part of the Federal government, has a unique ‘Trust relationship’ with each tribe based on the U.S. Constitution, treaties, statutes, court decisions and executive orders. That ‘Trust relationship’ requires the Corps to protect and preserve tribal resources to the greatest extent possible.
The Corps works with tribes to be successful in our mission to serve the nation. Tribes can be powerful proponents or opponents to any undertaking. By working closely with them, we can help our undertakings be more successful by putting tribes in the position of being advocates rather than blockers of projects. The geographic location of tribes, especially in the West, makes them important partners in any effort.