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Department of Energy’s Tribal Program

Welcome to the Tribal Program home page. The Tribal Program at Hanford Site serves the Richland Operations Office, the Office of River Protection and the Pacific Northwest Site Office.
DOE's involvement with Native American Tribes at Hanford is guided by DOE's American Indian Policy.
The policy states:
This Policy sets forth the principles to be followed by the Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure an effective implementation of a government to government relationship with American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments. This Policy is based on the United States Constitution, treaties, Supreme Court decisions, Executive Orders, statutes, existing federal policies, tribal laws, and the dynamic political relationship between Indian nations and the Federal government.* The most important doctrine derived from this relationship is the trust responsibility of the United States to protect tribal sovereignty and self-determination, tribal lands, assets, resources, and treaty and other federally recognized and reserved rights. This Policy provides direction to all Departmental officials, staff, and contractors regarding fulfillment of trust obligations and other responsibilities arising from Departmental actions which may potentially impact American Indian and Alaska Native traditional, cultural and religious values and practices; natural resources; treaty and other federally recognized and reserved rights.

DOE interacts and consults with three federally recognized tribes affected by Hanford operations including the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Nez Perce Tribe. Those Tribes were found “affected” through application under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (1982) based on the potential affects to treaty rights and resources. In addition, the Wanapum People who still live near Hanford at Priest Rapids, are a non-federally recognized tribe who have strong cultural ties to the site and have consulted with DOE since its formation in the 1940s.
If you have any questions or would like more information about Tribal involvement at Hanford please contact: Amanda Velasquez,, DOE-RL Tribal Affairs Program Manager.
Last Updated 09/08/2023 8:26 AM