In Fiscal Year 2017, the GLRI Regional Working Group established the first Tribal Forum to better engage Tribal governments and organizations. The purpose of the Forum was to improve engagement with tribal governments and organizations. The Regional Working Group has since been working together with Great Lakes Tribes to explore approaches that give tribes flexibility to develop programs, in the spirit of self-determination, that are of the highest priority to their communities and align with GLRI Action Plans. To meet these goals, the GLRI Regional Working Group established the GLRI Distinct Tribal Program, which began implementation in 2020.
On November 15, 2021 this partnership of the Regional Working Group and Great Lakes Tribes released the GLRI Distinct Tribal Program Framework. The Framework guides implementation of a GLRI Distinct Tribal Program called for by Congress directives. Under the Framework, the Distinct Tribal Program is supported through GLRI funding and administered by the BIA. The Program includes tribal projects as well as tribal capacity building to maintain and enhance a tribe’s ability to participate and provide meaningful input into Great Lakes meetings and initiatives. The Framework will continue to be reviewed and discussed to ensure it meets the needs of the Tribes and the GLRI.