AnnouncementCelebrating Native American Day: A Statement from OPR Director, Sam Assefa

Published: 9/22/2023

On Native American Day and every day, we honor the Indigenous peoples that have stewarded this land since time immemorial and that continue to thrive in what we now call California today. The contributions of Indigenous peoples – in the arts, science, public service, innovation and technology, sports – have moved California forward in impactful ways. We, the staff of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), also acknowledge the centuries-long campaign of violence and displacement against Indigenous peoples and tribal nations in California and the sacrifices these communities have been forced to make as a result.

OPR is committed to increasing California Native American tribes’ and indigenous communities’ access to our programs and resources and to developing meaningful and enduring partnerships with California Native American tribes and indigenous communities.

Increasing Tribes’ Access to OPR Resources

OPR staff recognize we have substantial work ahead of us to embed tribal priorities into our programs, so we are working hard to engage with tribes where they are already meeting and gather input on how we can do this better. We are creating model contracts for tribes, developing Data Sharing Agreements to ensure proper handling of Indigenous Knowledge and Tribal Expertise, examining the need for Limited Waivers of Sovereign Immunity and only requiring them if deemed truly necessary, developing tribal set asides, and providing tailored technical assistance to tribes. We look forward to working with you and tribal communities to continue to strengthen our partnerships and work together to meet our mutual goals. Here are some of the ways OPR is partnering, increasing access, and learning from tribal communities across the state:

Tribal Programs and Set Asides

Community Economic Resilience Fund Tribal Set Aside

The Community Economic Resilience Fund’s Tribal Funding Opportunity sets aside $25 million to support tribal economic planning and implementation projects that support a resilient, high-road economy. The Community Economic Resilience Fund will support statewide economic recovery and resilience, and the Tribal Funding Opportunity recognizes that tribes play a critical role in those efforts. Tribes will have broad flexibility to define what 'economic development’ means for their communities.

The Community Economic Resilience Fund is a $600 million funding opportunity the State created to help build an equitable and sustainable economy across California’s diverse regions and foster long-term economic resilience in the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

California Strategic Growth Council Tribal Capacity Building Program

The Tribal Capacity Building Pilot Program is a new grant program that provides funding and technical assistance to California Native American tribes to build staff capacity to advance tribes’ climate-related work. Administered by the Strategic Growth Council (SGC), the goal of the pilot program is to assist tribes in developing long-term capacity to secure funding and implement tribal-led climate solutions. The pilot program will fund staff salaries and activities that include planning, securing funding for, and implementing projects related to climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. Tribes will work with a technical assistance provider and receive no-cost, flexible support that will respond to each tribe’s needs. Support could include trainings; grant application and management assistance; planning and implementation support; partnership building; peer learning; and leadership and economic development.

California’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment

California’s Fifth Climate Assessment team is collaborating with Tribes on Indigenous Knowledge(s) and Tribal Expertise to ensure the State’s foundational climate change data and research reflects tribal needs and priorities.

California’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment Tribal Research Program seeks to build on the foundation and recommendations in the Fourth Assessment Tribal and Indigenous Communities Report by prioritizing collaboration with tribes in a culturally appropriate way throughout the Fifth Assessment.

The Tribal Research Program goals are:

  • Engage and Consult with tribal communities to advance collaboration on Indigenous Knowledge(s) and Tribal Expertise and continue to strengthen partnerships with Tribes.
  • Establish a Tribal Advisory Group to ensure collaboration on Indigenous Knowledges and Tribal Expertise through the Assessment.
  • Support Tribally led research through a Tribal Research Grant Program to address California-specific tribal research needs related to climate change.
  • Develop a Tribal Synthesis Report that includes tribally led research and summarizes climate change impacts to tribes in California.
  • Develop tribally led Guidance and Protocols on the Collaboration and Protection of Indigenous Knowledge and Tribal Knowledge for research and report handling purposes.