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DHS Establishes First-Ever Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council

A recognition of their status as independent nations and our history.

A move that has been long in coming:

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the establishment of the first-ever Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council and the opening of the nomination period for membership. This Council will enable Tribal leaders to advise the Secretary on homeland security policies and practices that affect Indian Country and indigenous communities, including emergency management, law enforcement, cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and targeted violence, and border security. “The inaugural Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council is a result of sustained engagement to improve nation-to-nation relationships and comes at a time of critical importance,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “I look forward to building a new Council that will provide timely advice and recommendations directly from Indian Country regarding how we can better work together to improve homeland security.” The Council will engage with DHS agencies and offices and produce recommendations and reports for the Secretary. The Council will be charged with collaborating on all matters of homeland security as they relate to Tribal Nations and indigenous communities, including but not limited to:

  • Implementation of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments and the President’s January 26, 2021 Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships; 
  • Implementation of Executive Order 14053, Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People;
  • Implementation of Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government; 
  • Implementation of Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations and Executive Order 13990, Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis;
  • Implementation and execution of the DHS’s Tribal Consultation Policy; and
  • The responsibility to uphold the Federal Government’s and the Department’s trust and treaty responsibility to Tribal Nations.

The Council’s membership will be diverse in its leadership, professional backgrounds, technical expertise, and geographic makeup. Since every tribe is a unique sovereign nation, DHS strives to establish a Council that is reflective of the wide expanse of Indian country. With today’s announcement, DHS will begin accepting nominations for a period of 30 days. Individuals will be considered for membership based on their qualifications to serve as representatives of a Tribal Nation or tribal organization. Interested individuals may submit their nomination packages via first class mail (Attn: Colleen Silva, Office of Partnership and Engagement, MS 0385, Department of Homeland Security, 2707 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, Washington, DC 20528-0835) or e-mail submissions to until 11:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, on October 10, 2022. To learn more about the Council and how to apply, please visit

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.