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American Indian/Alaska Native Emphasis Program

The purpose of the American Indian/Alaska Native Emphasis Program is to provide focus on such issues as employment, retention, promotion, training, career development, and advancement opportunities affecting American Indian and Alaskan Natives.

The role of the American Indian/Alaska Native Special Emphasis Program is to foster the value of diversity within NRCS, promote cultural awareness, and support equal opportunity in NRCS program delivery and employment. This is accomplished by establishing and maintaining a network of professional support and effective relationships with American Indian and Alaska Native Organizations and groups.

Native People in Vermont

As part of the NRCS outreach effort to make Farm Bill programs equally available to all producers, there is an emphasis placed on contact with diverse communities and groups. Tribal assistance for conservation efforts is among the agencies top outreach priorities.

Indian tribes are defined as any tribe, band, nation or other organized group or community, (including any Alaska Native village or region or village corporation as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act) that is federally recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

VT State recognition of Abenaki Bands - The St. Francis/Sokoki Band successfully obtained VT State recognition in 2006. This is out dated.  The legislature determined that the 2006 recognition was illegal so they revoked that designation and enacted another law that vetted tribes to make them prove their heritage.   In 2011 and 2012 four tribes were state recognized.  They are the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Missisquoi, the Nulhegan (NE Kingdom) the El Nu (SE Vermont) and the  Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas (mid Connecticut River area).

VT Federally recognized tribe - NRCS formally consults with the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation who are a federally recognized tribe.   They were pushed into Wisconsin to their present reservation in Munsee, Wisconsin about 200 years ago but still have ancestral homelands in most of Addison, Rutland and Bennington Counties extending south from the mouth of Dead Creek to the Massachusetts border and west of Green Mountain foothills to the NY border.  All ground disturbing practices planned within the Mohican homeland of Vermont are submitted to their Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for her review and concurrence of No Historic Properties Affected.


Native American/Alaska Native Heritage Month -

In 1986, President Reagan designated November 23-30 as American Indian Week. Four years later, President Bush proclaimed the first National American Indian Heritage Month. Each year since, U.S. Presidents have proclaimed November as American Indian Heritage Month.  Also, as part of this celebration, each year native artists from around the country submit their artwork to the annual poster contest.  After a selection is made, the winning poster is distributed for display.

Native American Heritage Month (National Website)

2010 Presidential Proclamation

VT Diversity Day The Vermont NRCS employees experienced their first statewide Diversity Day in 2007.  The day hosted many speakers and presenters, one of which was Howard Lyons.  Howard, an accomplished musician and lecturer, is a member of the 6 Nations Iroquois Confederacy, Mohawk Nation, Wolf Clan, Haudenosaunee.   He shared with employees, songs in his native language, history of the formation of the Iroquois Confederacy, lessons of our human connections with nature, and provided an opportunity for everyone to gain insight into his Mohawk heritage and culture.

Other Links of Interest:

Federal Employment website

Tribal Colleges and Universities

Society of American Indian Government Employees

American Indian/Alaska Native Employees Association For NRCS

Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs 

Abenaki History