Nearly 200 tribal leaders, emergency managers, first responders, and other disaster preparedness officials, representing more than 60 tribal governments are meeting this week in Oakland, California, with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, to discuss how to jointly prepare for, respond to, and recover from the next catastrophic disaster that could strike tribal communities with or without warning in California, Arizona, or Nevada.
Regional Administrator Nancy Ward spoke at this year’s second annual Disaster Preparedness Partnership meeting along with Mark Ghilarducci, Secretary for the California Emergency Management Agency.
“FEMA recognizes that even with the best planning, disasters are inevitable,” said Nancy Ward, FEMA Region 9 Administrator. “This conference is one of the largest gatherings of its kind, and an excellent venue for tribal, state, and federal leaders and emergency management professionals to share success strategies and apply that knowledge to the unique issues facing our tribal partners today.”
This year’s conference will cover many pressing topics, including the Presidential Preparedness Directive (PPD- 8), tribal grants, the National Disaster Recovery Framework, “Tribes leading Tribes” mentoring program and critical infrastructure resources. During the current fiscal year, FEMA has provided more than $6 million dollars in federal funding aimed at strengthening core tribal capacities.
Tribal governments are essential partners in building resilient communities and the federal government has a unique government-to-government relationship with federally-recognized tribal governments.
“This is truly a wonderful collaboration,” said Mark Romero, Chairman, Executive Board, Inter Tribal Long Term Recovery Foundation. “Especially in light of recent California wildfires it’s so critical that we all work together to establish the best emergency management practices.”
Tribal lands in Region 9 range from small allotments of a few acres to the Navajo Nation, the largest tribal territory in the country. More than 28% of these native homes are at or below the poverty level and face unique challenges when confronted by disasters on tribal lands.
Tribal leaders slated to speak at this week’s conference include: Don Watahomigie, Chairman of the Havasupai Tribe; Robert Holden, Deputy Executive Director for the National Congress of American Indians; Cliff Puckett, Emergency Manager for the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community; Ed Naranjo, Chairman for the Goshute tribes of Nevada & Utah; LaVonne Peck, Chairwoman of the La Jolla Tribe; Gary Fredericksen, Fire Chief for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Tribe; Mike Chandler, Fire Commission Member for the Yocha Dehe Fire Department; Wayne Burke, Chairman, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe; and Randall Vicente, Governor of the Pueblo of Acoma.
FEMA also provides no-cost training for tribal leaders, emergency planners, first responders, and others. The following courses are offered at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland:
- Emergency Management Framework for Tribal Governments (E580) provides a basic understanding of emergency management principles and how those principles can be used to help develop and implement emergency management systems.
- Emergency Management Operations for Tribal Governments (E581) helps tribal officials develop organizational structures, operational procedures, and resources for effective emergency management operations.
- Mitigation for Tribal Officials (E344) covers FEMA’s disaster mitigation programs, tribal mitigation opportunities, and examples of mitigation success.
To learn more about FEMA’s tribal programs please visit: http://www.fema.gov/tribal.