There are 109 federally-recognized Native American tribes in California. The United States government recognizes tribes as domestic, independent nations with the right to self-governance, tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Tribal governments are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property and the environment on tribal lands. Responsibilities may include deploying field-level emergency response personnel and activating emergency operations centers and issuing orders to protect the public.
Federal / State Authorities: The Stafford Act, in 42 U.S.C., Section 5122(B), defines an Indian tribe or authorized tribal organization as local governments. Under 28 U.S.C, Section 1360, California has criminal law enforcement jurisdiction over offenses committed by or against tribes and civil law enforcement jurisdiction over offenses to which the tribes are a party. Local ordinances are not applicable to tribes or tribal land.
- Emergency Management: Tribal governments maintain various levels of emergency preparedness, coordination, communication and collaboration with federal, state and local governments. When there is threat of an emergency or actual emergency tribal authorities must take the appropriate actions to cope with the situation and activate their tribal emergency preparedness procedures and plans.
- Agreements: Developing Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) or Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) between state, local and tribal governments could maximize capabilities at all levels, expedite mobilization during an emergency and promote sharing of equipment, skilled personnel and other needed resources in an emergency.
- Disaster Assistance: The state and its political subdivisions will make every effort to support the tribal communities in their response and recovery efforts. As conditions require and upon request from the tribe, the available and appropriate federal, state and local government resources will, in accordance with prior arrangements and as authorized by law, be committed to tribal lands to protect lives, property and the environment.