Caltrans Tribal Relations

Thank you for visiting the Caltrans Tribal Relations webpage! In carrying out its mission, Caltrans recognizes the importance of communication, coordination, and meaningful consultation with California tribal governments and takes seriously its responsibilities to ensure that elected officials and other tribal government representatives have the opportunity to provide meaningful input into matters that may affect tribal communities.

There are two key functional divisions within the Department that work closely and directly with California tribal governments in the context of transportation planning, environmental review, and project delivery, as follows:

State Planning Office

HQ Native American Liaison Branch

Lonora Graves, Branch Chief

The Native American Liaison Branch (NALB) Works with tribal governments in the context of transportation planning and programming processes to address tribal transportation needs and funding sources. Manages Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) matters; Administers the Caltrans Native American Advisory Committee (NAAC) Meetings. The NALB serves as the primary government-to-government contact between the Department and tribal governments and advises top management on relevant policy issues.

Focus Areas: tribal transportation planning, mobility/safety needs, and funding sources; Tribal transportation plan development and technical assistance; government-to-government tribal engagement and consultation.

District Native American Liaisons (DNALs)

District Transportation Planning staff who serve as points of contact for tribes in the Districts are the District Native American LiaisonsView the statewide list of DNALs.

Cultural Studies Office

HQ Native American Cultural Studies Branch

Sarah Allred, Branch Chief

The Native American Cultural Studies (NACS) Branch works with tribes in context of the cultural resources studies that are conducted as part of the Department’s environmental review and compliance process to identify, evaluate, and manage tribal heritage resources that may be affected during transportation project delivery.  The integration of traditional tribal knowledge and expertise is a key objective in this process. The NACS Branch also seeks to partner with tribal governments and local agencies identify tribal heritage preservation concerns early and promote tribal historic preservation considerations during land use and transportation planning phases.

Focus Areas: Identification and treatment of tribal heritage resources during project delivery; engagement with tribes about tribal heritage preservation concerns. Compliance with state and federal historic preservation laws, regulations, guidance and policy.

District Native American Coordinators (DNACs)

District Cultural Resources/Environmental staff who serve as points of contact for tribes in the Districts are the District Native American CoordinatorsView the statewide list of DNACs.