California Indian Tribal Relations

CalEPA and its boards, departments, and office (BDOs) are committed to improving our communication and working relationships with California Indian Tribes. To achieve this goal and to help guide CalEPA and its BDOs, we have adopted the CalEPA Policy for Working with California Indian Tribes (PDF). Arsenio Mataka, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs, is guiding this effort with the assistance of staff members Malinda Dumisani and Diane Trujillo. This policy will serve to guide CalEPA and all its BDOs in their daily operations to work with California Indian Tribes in a knowledgeable, sensitive, and respectful manner.

In the spirit of respect and cooperation with tribal governments, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) is pleased to announce that it seeks Tribal government and Tribal community input to improve and strengthen its policy for working with tribal governments.  

Over the past three years, CalEPA has actively sought to implement our tribal policy with the assistance of our Tribal Advisory Committee, made up of representatives from federally and non-federally recognized tribes. Given the passage of time since our agency-wide policy was adopted and recent events, CalEPA has decided now would be a good time to update its policy. On December 21, 2012, Secretary Matthew Rodriquez sent a letter to tribal leaders and environmental directors, asking for comments and suggestions on the existing tribal policy. Specifically, he requested input concerning the process for consultation and what actions should be considered to achieve the policy’s guiding principles.  

To assist in preparing these comments, CalEPA conducted two listening sessions in June 2013 for Tribes. Listening Session #1 (PDF) was held on June 25, 2013 at the California Department of Industrial Relations Santa Rosa District Office, in Santa Rosa. Listening Session #2 (PDF)was held on June 27, 2013 at the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians EPA Conference Room, in Valley Center.

CalEPA is currently reviewing all comments received.  

CalEPA will soon release a draft policy and accept comments. CalEPA will then work with its Tribal Advisory Committee and our boards, departments and office to develop a final draft policy, which we will share with all Tribes for another round comments prior to its adoption.

CalEPA is dedicated to strengthening its collaboration with Tribes and ensuring that Tribes have a voice on the issues that touch Tribal health, environmental quality and economy.  Input from tribal governments is critical to the success of this policy revision. Should you have any questions regarding this policy or this effort, feel free to contact Arsenio Mataka, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs at (916) 323-0445 or via email at

Cal/EPA May 23 Staff Tribal Training (Part 1, PDF)

CalEPA July 29 Staff Tribal Training (Part 2, PDF)


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Last updated: May 14, 2014
California Environmental Protection Agency,
General Public Contact, (916) 323-2514