The Office of Tribal Government (OTGR) is housed within the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Under the leadership of Director Stephanie Birdwell, OTGR works with tribal leaders to develop positive relationships with American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments. The office is working to institute VA as part of the landscape of Indian Country by consulting with tribal governments to enhance access to services and benefits by Veterans and their families.

OTGR staff members actively participate in meetings, conferences, dedications, and summits impacting American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans throughout the nation. On December 2nd, Stephanie Birdwell and Erika Moott from OTGR will join Deputy Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs, John Garcia to attend the 2011 White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C.

This conference will build on the past two year’s successful White House Tribal Nations Conferences. In 2009, President Obama signed the Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation to improve tribal government participation in Federal policy decisions that impact them, which directly relates to OTGR’s mission to facilitate consultation between VA and tribal leaders.

The goal of the 2011 White House Tribal Nations Conference is to continue the meaningful discussion between tribal leaders and the Administration, which remains committed to strengthening the government-to-government relationship between the United States and tribal governments.

Click here to learn more about the Office of Tribal Governmental Relations.

Rachel Ryan is the Legal Intern for VA’s Office of Tribal Government Relations. She is also a third year law student at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.

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