International Institute for
Indigenous Resource Management

RISK ROUNDTABLES

Risk and Quality of Life Assessments: Tribal Issues
Denver, Colorado
September 6-7, 2000

International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management
U.S. Department of Energy, Center for Risk Excellence
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

MEETING OBJECTIVES

Since January 2000, the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management has been working with the Department of Energy's Center for Risk Excellence at the Argonne National Laboratory and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) to identify and examine tribal quality of life indicators. Some of that work is memorialized in papers by Mervyn L. Tano, president of the Institute, Dr. Barbara Harper and Stuart Harris of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and Dr. Alvin L. Young, Elizabeth Hocking, and C. Wilson McGinn of the Department of Energy in ASTM publication STP 1381, Environmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment: Recent Achievements in Environmental Fate and Transport, Ninth Volume. The broader question of quality of life standards and measures generally, was discussed at an ASTM symposium in Seattle, on April 19-21, 1999.

The September 6-7, 2000 meeting brought together tribal environmental protection, economic development, and natural resources management staff together with representatives of federal agencies, academia, and experts in risk analysis and risk management to further examine the wide range of tribal interests that could be implicated in the development, publication, and application (especially for the purposes of environmental restoration) of quality of life standards and measures.

MEETING SUMMARY

Following a morning of presentations participants discussed the following workshop question: What are key elements for doing quality of life assessments?

Working in teams, workshop participants identified six such key elements. These included:

  1. Community Involvement. Intent: Identify Decision Makers and All Stakeholders
  2. Effective Stakeholder Engagement. Intent: Stakeholder Awareness; Involvement; Participation in Decision-making; Negotiation; Communication; Resolution
  3. Building Trust. Intent: To Develop a Process to Build Trust to Accomplish Full Disclosure, Resolution, and Accountability
  4. Cultural Respect Through Communication. Intent: Identify and Express Cultural Values of Stakeholders and Develop Strategic Processes For Communication
  5. Clear Communication. Intent: Create A Framework For Understandable and Accountable Quality of Life Processes
  6. Integrating Ecological, Human, and Economic Concerns with Cultural Values & Sensitivity. Intent: To Create and Communicate An Integrated understandable Culturally Relevant and Measurable Quality of Life Assessment Processes

Working in small teams, participants made the recommendations for each key element area:

Title: Community Involvement

Key Issues for Action:

Prioritized Tasks:

Title: Effective Stakeholder Engagement

Key Issues for Action:

Prioritized Tasks:

Title: Building Trust

Key Issues for Action:

Prioritized Tasks: 2, 1, 3.

Note: Full disclosure is critical but it may open the door to litigation. In building trust create opportunities to correct action before it escalates to litigation.

Title: Cultural Respect Through Communication

Key Issues for Action:

Prioritized Tasks:

Title: Clear Communication

Key Issues for Action:

Prioritized Tasks:

PATH FORWARD

The workshop participants identified four key arenas of follow-up work. They are listed below along with the teams who have volunteered to work on each initiative.

Framework - Weave all this together in a Framework

Opportunties for Collaboration - What are specific ways we can connect?

Resource Plan - How do we support this work?

Two-year Milestones - Create general targets for the next two years by quarters.