[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 53 (Monday, March 19, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16120-16121]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-6590]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


Tribal Consultations

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Notice of Tribal Consultation.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Tribal 
Government Relations (OTGR) will host a Tribal Consultation on the 
following VA programs: Native American Direct Loan Program, Tribal 
Cemetery Grants, and local implementation of the 2010 VA/Indian Health 
Service (IHS) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

DATES: Comments must be submitted to VA no later than Friday, March 30, 
2012. The Consultation Session will be held on April 5, 2012.

ADDRESSES: The Consultation Session will be held at L'Enfant Plaza 
Hotel, 480 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20024, at 9 a.m., 
Eastern Standard Time.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Erika Moott, Executive Officer, VA 
Office of Tribal Government Relations at (202) 461-7400, by email at 
Tribalgovernmentconsultation@va.gov, or by mail at Suite 915L, 810 
Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On November 6, 2000, President Clinton 
signed Executive Order 13175 entitled ``Consultation and Coordination 
With Indian Tribal Governments,'' in order to ``establish regular and 
meaningful consultation and collaboration with [T]ribal officials in 
the development of Federal policies that have Tribal implications, to 
strengthen the United States government-to-government relationships 
with Indian Tribes, and to reduce the imposition of unfunded mandates 
upon Indian Tribes * * *''
    On November 5, 2009, President Obama signed the Memorandum on 
Tribal Consultation, pronouncing Tribal consultations a critical 
ingredient of a sound and productive Federal-Tribal relationship. The 
Presidential Memorandum directs all Federal

[[Page 16121]]

agencies to develop a detailed plan of action to implement Executive 
Order 13175 and to engage in regular and meaningful consultation and 
collaboration with Tribal officials in the development of Federal 
policies that have Tribal implications. The President stated that his 
Administration is committed to complete and consistent implementation 
of Executive Order 13175.
    As provided in President Obama's Memorandum on Tribal Consultation, 
``[t]he United States has a unique legal and political relationship 
with [American Indian/Alaska Native Tribal governments], established 
through and confirmed by the Constitution of the United States, 
treaties, statutes, executive orders, and judicial decisions. In 
recognition of that special relationship, pursuant to Executive Order 
13175 of November 6, 2000, executive departments and agencies * * * are 
charged with engaging in regular and meaningful consultation and 
collaboration with [T]ribal officials in the development of Federal 
policies that have [T]ribal implications, and are responsible for 
strengthening the government-to-government relationship between the 
United States and [American Indian/Alaska Native Tribes].''
    The following topics will be discussed during consultation:
    National Cemetery Administration: In January 2012, VA issued a 
final rule, 77 FR 4471, amending VA's regulations governing Federal 
grants for the establishment, expansion, and improvement of veterans 
cemeteries. This final rule implemented through regulation section 403 
of the ``Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act 
of 2006,'' which establishes eligibility for Tribal Organizations to 
apply for grants for Veterans cemeteries on Trust Lands. Public Law 
109-461, 120 Stat. 3403 (Dec. 22, 2006); see also 38 U.S.C. 2408(f). 
This authority allows VA to award grants under the Veterans Cemetery 
Grant Program to Tribal Organizations in the same manner, and under the 
same conditions, as grants to States. VA will consult with Tribes on 
recommendations for increasing outreach and awareness of the funding 
opportunity in addition to seeking input on challenges Tribes 
experience in applying for these grants.
    Veterans Health Administration: The VA-IHS MOU was signed by Dr. 
Petzel and Dr. Roubideaux on October 1, 2010. The purpose of the MOU is 
to enhance the health care status of American Indian and Alaska Native 
(AI/AN) Veterans through the delivery of accessible and quality health 
care services. This will be accomplished by establishing greater 
collaboration and resource-sharing between both agencies. VA will 
consult with Tribes on recommendations for increasing Tribal Government 
involvement in MOU workgroups and workgroup activities at the national 
and local levels.
    Veterans Benefits Administration: The Native American Veteran 
Direct Loan Program (NADL), created by Congress in 1992, enables 
eligible veterans the opportunity to obtain VA direct loan benefits on 
Federal trust land. Until the creation of this program, the only way a 
Native American Veteran could use a VA-housing benefit was to try to 
find a mortgage lender willing to make a VA-guaranteed loan on Federal 
trust land. Lenders have been historically reluctant to lend money to 
finance the purchase of homes on land held in trust by the Federal 
Government. VA will consult with Tribes on recommendations for 
increasing awareness and utilization of the Native American Direct 
Loan.
    Comments must be submitted to VA no later than Friday, March 30, 
2012, to: Erika Moott, Executive Officer, VA Office of Tribal 
Government Relations at (202) 461-7400, by email at 
Tribalgovernmentconsultation@va.gov, or by mail at Suite 915L, 810 
Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420. However, this deadline does 
not preclude anyone from providing testimony at the session and we 
will, to the extent that time allows, hear your testimony. If you plan 
on attending to present your testimony, please provide the name, title, 
and Tribe of the individual who will be presenting to Erika Moott. In 
order to facilitate the discussion, we ask that presenters provide a 
brief overview of the testimony and include the specific issues to be 
addressed at the session. For any Tribe unable to attend to present 
testimony, please be aware that OTGR will keep the testimony record 
open for 30 days after the date of the consultation. After 30 days, 
OTGR will provide written responses to all comments received, including 
those that were presented in person.
    To register for the consultation, please submit your name, Tribe or 
organization, phone, and email address to 
Tribalgovernmentconsultation@va.gov.

    Approved: March 12, 2012.
John R. Gingrich,
Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2012-6590 Filed 3-16-12; 8:45 am]
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