Section V - Roles & Responsibilities

In order to effectively and successfully implement the goals, objectives and principles identified in the Centennial Accord (August 1989) and the New Millennium Agreement (November 1999), it is critical to clarify the respective roles of the tribal and state representatives. The guiding principles in the Accord provide a framework for the state/tribal government-to-government relationship. Additionally, the Accord identifies implementation procedures to assure effective execution of that relationship.

A. State Government Roles

1. Governor: The Governor as the elected Chief Executive of the State of Washington oversees the state's governmental functions including implementing the government-to-government relationship between the state and the 28 federally recognized tribes.

  1. Governor's Chief of Staff: The Governor's Chief of Staff is referenced in the 1989 Centennial Accord as the individual accountable to the Governor for implementation of the Centennial Accord. In turn, state agency directors are accountable to the Governor for implementing the Centennial Accord working through the Chief of Staff.
  2. Governor's Office of Indian Affairs: The Governor's Office of Indian Affairs (GOIA) was created by Executive Order and is under the auspices of the Governor's Office. GOIA's mission is to assist the Governor, state agencies, and tribal governments with formalizing government-to-government relations. The GOIA operates as the liaison for the Governor to the Tribes, non-recognized tribes, urban Indian populations and Indian organizations and advises the Governor on policy and legislation. According to the Centennial Accord, GOIA shall assist,
    "the Chief of Staff in implementing the government to government relationship by providing state agency directors information with which to educate employees and constituent groups as defined in the accountability plan about the requirement of the government to government relationship. The Office of Indian Affairs shall also perform other duties as defined by the chief of staff." blockquote

2. State Agency Directors: The Centennial Accord calls for each state agency to develop a plan to implement the government-to-government policy. "Each agency will establish a documented plan of accountability and may establish more detailed implementation procedures in subsequent agreements between tribes and the particular agency." Some agency directors report directly to the Governor's office, while some report to an appointed board or commission.

3. Attorneys General Office: The Attorneys General of Washington State is elected by popular vote. As the chief attorney for the state, the Attorneys General advises the Governor and state agencies on legal matters, but operates independently of the Governor. Local County and City prosecutors operate independently of the Attorney General's office.

4. Department of Natural Resources: The Commissioner for Public Lands is elected by popular vote and oversees the Department of Natural Resources, also operating independently of the Governor. DNR oversees the operation and management of Washington State publicly held lands.

5. Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction: The Superintendent of Public Instruction is elected by popular vote and operates independently of the Governor. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has general supervisory duties on matters related to public schools.

6. Department of Fish and Wildlife: The Director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife is appointed by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, consisting of nine commissioners who are appointed by the Governor. The department regulates Washington's state hunting and fishing activities.

7. Liquor Control Board: The Liquor Control Board (LCB): is comprised of three appointed Commissioners. The LCB mission is to serve the public by preventing misuse of alcohol and tobacco through the education, enforcement and controlled distribution.

8. Gambling Commission: The Gambling Commission is comprised of five appointed Commissioners who operate independently of the Governor. Four members of the Legislature act as ex officio members who do not vote, except for the purposes of approving tribal gaming compacts. The Gambling Commission regulates and controls gambling activities within the State of Washington and, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, restrains criminal activities associated with unlawful gambling.

9. Department of Transportation: The Department of Transportation is the central organization, working for the Washington State Transportation Commission and with stakeholders, to effectively influence the policies, plans and programs necessary for the state transportation system. The Secretary of Transportation is appointed by the Commission. The Department efficiently build, maintain, operate and promote safe and coordinated transportation systems to serve the public.

10. Department of Licensing: The Department of Licensing is comprised of five divisions: Driver Services, Vehicle Services, Business and Professions, Information Services, and Management Services. The Agency protects the public safety and welfare through license and regulation, and ensures the fair, timely and efficient collection of state revenue.

B. Tribal Roles & Responsibilities

The following provides general guidance and clarification on the roles and responsibilities of the tribes and state inter-tribal organizations:

1. Tribal Governments: The State recognizes all federally-recognized tribes in the State of Washington. Each sovereign tribe has an independent relationship with each other and with the state. Tribal leadership and governing officials of each tribe represent their individual tribal interests; and may also represent collective interests which are common among the tribes.

Tribes are encouraged to send policy officials representing these interests to joint state/tribal meetings where elected state officials are present. Additionally, tribes may identify program and/or technical staff to attend meetings when appropriate and where similar state representation is anticipated. Appropriate policy-level and program-level representation will facilitate in the development of solutions and decision-making process.

2. Inter-Tribal Organizations & Associations: Each of the following inter-tribal organizations and associations serves as an additional vehicle to advance the principles and objectives contained in the Accord. It is incumbent on the tribal leadership of each of these organizations to communicate with the state on developments and issues regarding specific commitments of the Accord. In general, these organizations also serve a monitoring and communication function between tribal and state representatives.

  1. Association of Washington Tribes (AWT): Formed in July 1998, the articles of incorporation state that one of the purposes of the AWT is to "advance the principles of the Centennial Accord". As a non-profit charitable organization, the AWT advocates for the tribal sovereignty, treaty rights as well as the legislative, regulatory and political interests of the federally recognized tribes of the state of Washington at the local, state and national level to: (1) promote the orderly development and economic advancement of the tribes; (2) provide programs of service and action in promoting the common interest of members; and (3) secure cooperation with and among other organizations in the furtherance of those objectives. AWT membership is open to all 28 federally-recognized tribes in the state of Washington. While not all tribes in the state are a member of AWT, the organization serves as a coordinating entity to assist in the development of tribal policy positions.
  2. American Indian Health Commission: Formed in June 1995, the Commission consists of the federally-recognized tribes of the state of Washington, the Seattle Indian Health Board, Spokane Urban Indian Health Services and individual Indian people of Washington. The Commission seeks consensus and guides the state of Washington regarding the collective needs of the tribal governments and other individual American Indian people to assure quality and comprehensive health cared to all American Indians and Alaska Natives in Washington State. The Commission does not circumvent the sovereign authority of the tribal governments; rather its objective is to seek unity amount American Indian/Alaska Native health care providers.
  3. Indian Policy Advisory Committee (IPAC): Indian tribes and tribal organizations in Washington State established IPAC within the Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS) to guide the implementation of the Centennial Accord. Its purposes include: (1) to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of Indian people; (2) to preserve Indian cultural values; and (3) promote the welfare of Indian people. The IPAC does not circumvent the sovereign authority of tribal governments. Its objective is to seek unity among the tribal governments, Indian organizations and the DSHS Its role is to assist the collective needs of the tribal governments and other American Indian organizations to assure quality and comprehensive service delivery to all American Indians and Alaska Natives in Washington State.
  4. Northwest Indian Fish Commission (NWIFC): The NWIFC was created in 1974 by treaty Indian tribes in western Washington as a result of the United States v. Washington litigation that affirmed fishing rights reserved by the tribes in treaties signed with the federal government in the 1850s. The Commission's role is to assist the tribes in conducting orderly and biologically sound fisheries and to provide member tribes with a single, unified voice on fisheries management and conservation issues. Member tribes include: Nisqually, Squaxin Island, Puyallup, Jamestown S'Klallam, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Lower Elwha Klallam, Skokomish, Swinomish, Sauk-Suiattle, Upper Skagit, Tulalip, Makah, Stillaguamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Nooksack, Lummi, Quinault and Quileute. The tribes select commissioners who develop policy and provide direction to the NWIFC staff.
  5. Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission: Located in Portland, Oregon, this intertribal fish commission is comprised of Indian tribes with reserved treaty rights to fish along the Columbia River and its tributaries. Member tribes include the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, the Nez Perce Tribe and the Umatilla Tribe.
  6. Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA): The WIGA is a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation organized under the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act. Specific purposes include: (1) to promote, protect and preserve the general welfare and interests of Indian tribes through the development of sound policies and practices with respect to the conduct of gaming activities in Indian country; (2) to disseminate information to the Indian gaming community, federal and state governments; (3) to preserve and protect the integrity of gaming conducted in Indian country; (4) to promote government-to-government relationships and effective communication between the tribes and the state of Washington; and (5) to maintain protect and advocate Indian tribal sovereignty.

    The WIGA is committed to the preservation of tribal sovereignty and the unique and independent government-to-government relationship between tribal governments and state or federal governments. Absent express written consent by a member tribes, communications by a tribal, state or federal government or entity with the WIGA shall not be deemed to be communications on a government-to-government basis.

    Other organizations that may serve as resources include the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians, the Southern Puget Sound Intertribal Association, the Intertribal Transportation Association, and the Northwest Tribal LTAP Center. This should not be considered a complete list of intertribal or tribal organizations.