OREM (July 30, 2014) -- Gov. Gary R. Herbert issued an executive order to strengthen communication between state agencies and Utah's eight sovereign tribes this morning at the 9th Annual Native American Summit, held at Utah Valley University.
"Consultation, communication, and cooperation between state agencies and Utah's tribal nations are already taking place and yielding positive results," said Gov. Herbert. "This consultation executive order will build upon these successes and shows our strong commitment to strengthening the government-to-government relationship between the state and the tribes."
This executive order, the first of its kind in Utah, directs each state agency to develop a formal tribal consultation policy. These policies will ensure the tribes are consulted when the state is contemplating actions that have tribal implications. Each state agency will also be required to compile a report of consultation activities annually which will be submitted to the governor and lt. governor, and will be shared with Utah's tribal leaders.
The summit was attended by representatives of each of Utah's eight sovereign tribes:
- The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah Ouray Reservation
- The Northwest Band of Shoshone Nation
- The Confederated Tribe of Goshute
- The Skull Valley Band of Goshute
- The Navajo Nation and the Utah Navajo Chapters
- The San Juan Southern Paiute located at Paiute Mountain
- The Paiute Tribe of Utah
- The Ute Mountain Ute of White Mesa, which is the host tribe for this year's summit.
The governor also discussed the state's efforts to boost employment among Native Americans continues to be a significant challenge and a work in progress.
While Utah's unemployment rate has dropped to the second lowest in the nation, from 8.4 percent when the governor took office to 3.5 percent today, unemployment for Native Americans is still unacceptably high at 13.7 percent.
"Without a quality education, Native Americans will have a hard time competing in today's marketplace and finding good jobs," said Gov. Herbert. "It is critical to not only complete high school, but also go on to postsecondary education to earn a college degree or earn a certificate. Simply put, a high school education alone is not enough anymore."
The Native American Summit has been held at UVU for the past two years to emphasize the importance of education. This is also the second consecutive year the summit has included a youth track for Native American high school and college students to help them explore career options and navigate college and scholarship opportunities.