GSA Partnerships with Native American Tribes
November 24, 2021
National Native American Heritage Month honors the contributions of Native peoples and cultures to the United States and serves as a reminder of the struggles and challenges they have faced.
GSA’s work with Native American tribes covers a wide range of activities. As the home to 272 federally recognized Native American tribes, GSA Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) has a unique perspective on GSA’s partnership with Tribal Nations.
GSA’s work with Native American tribes covers a wide range of activities.
GSA’s Fine Arts Collection includes stunning examples of Native American art. For example, the Haines Alaska Dalton Cache Border Station houses three pieces from Tlingit artist Carmen Quinto Plunkett, and the Anchorage Federal Building features Cignik Rose, by Alvin Eli Amason.
Follow GSA's Instagram account to see other art pieces commissioned by the Art in Architecture program.
GSA also contracts with Native American Owned businesses to support various mission requirements. Over the last five years, the Public Buildings Service's Region 10 executed over 300 contacts with American Indian Owned Businesses, Tribally Owned, and Native American Owned Businesses.
All federally-recognized tribes can use GSA schedules to help stretch the dollars they have and can reach out to GSA regional Customer Service Directors (CSD) for help on how to leverage GSA solutions for their needs.
In Fiscal Year 2021 Region 10’s Federal Acquisition Service CSD Jessi Jagne helped the Cowlitz Indian Tribe on several efforts, including use of GSA schedules to contract for pharmacy tech support and contract services to assist with the development of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Emergency Management Plan.
GSA’s Native American Tribes web site provides an overview on how recognized tribes may successfully participate with GSA programs.
One of the key GSA programs is the Personal Property Management (PPM) program where federally-recognized Native American tribes can request unneeded federal personal property through GSAXcess. GSA’s Gerry Giauque, based out of Auburn, Washington, manages the PPM efforts in the region. Within the Region 10 footprint, in Fiscal Year 2021 PPM transferred more than 2,000 pieces of personal property to federally-recognized Native American tribes. These pieces included vehicles, snow plows, heavy equipment, generators, compressors, and tools.
For the Yakama Indian Nation in central Washington, the federal excess program has provided items from nuts and bolts to buildings and heavy equipment to help their forestry, facility maintenance, and economic development programs. According to David Garcia, Federal Excess Property Specialist for the Yakama Indian Nation in central Washington, “Our fisheries program has benefited immensely from goods received, [helping us in] restoring salmon and sturgeon populations."
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians shared how GSAXcess personal property helped their Tribe’s fisheries program, which included the restoration and enhancement of three Endangered Species Act listed fish species (Chinook, Steelhead, and Bull trout). The program allows them to save limited funds and acquire essential equipment, material, tools, and hardware for free. They consider GSA’s excess personal property program a critical piece of their fisheries enhancement operation.
GSA also works with State Agencies for Surplus Property (SASP). The Alaska SASP is the largest to donate to state recognized tribes, native villages and corporations. In FY 2021 the Alaska SASP donated 51 items. Property included vehicles, trailers, furniture, generators, and boats.
GSA continues to look for opportunities to help improve services for Native American Tribes. As part of that focus they created a Native Nations Acquisition Support Initiative to specifically address acquisition challenges within the Native American Nations.
The United States has a unique legal and political relationship with the Native American Tribes as provided in the Constitution of the United States, treaties, and federal statutes. Through various executive orders and federal policies throughout the years, the federal government has committed to work with federally-recognized Native American Tribal governments on a government-to-government basis and strongly supports and respects Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. What we’ve shared above are just a few small regional examples of the partnership between GSA and Native American Tribes.
Story by: Stephanie M. Teague, Region 10 Communication Team Lead
Photo Layout/Graphics: Cynthia M. Henry, Social Media Communication Specialist