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:
Office of Race and Equity (CORE)
HQ Native American Liaison Branch (NALB)
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.
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 Liaisons. View the statewide list of DNALs.
Focus of Native American Liaison Branch
- Tribal transportation planning, mobility & safety needs, funding sources, and technical assistance.
- Primary government to government contact for the Department.
- Addresses Tribal Employment Rights matters.
- Administers the Caltrans Native American Advisory Committee (NAAC) Meetings.
- Can assist and direct all formal inquiries on tribal government matters.
Project Delivery Program - Division of Environmental Analysis
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.
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 Coordinators. Please contact the Native American Cultural Studies Branch.
Focus of Native American Cultural Studies Branch:
- Tribal outreach and consultation on the identification & treatment tribal cultural properties affected by transportation development.
- Compliance with federal and state historic preservation laws related to tribal historic preservation and treatment of archaeological human remains.
- Engagement with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and cultural/traditional leaders for participation in cultural studies.
- Coordination with Planning functions to scope potential tribal historic preservation issues during early planning phases.