Chapter 3-1: Native American Freight Connections



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Chapter 3-1:

Native American Freight Connections

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California is home to more than one hundred federally-recognized Native American Tribes that have formal tribal governments (see Table 3-1.1) and is also home to many other tribes and individual Native Americans who do not have formal federal recognition status (see Federal Register, Volume 79, Number 19, page 4748). Many of the federally-recognized tribes have tribal lands that are officially designated as reservations or rancherias1. Like all communities, Native American reservations and rancherias rely upon freight system access to obtain goods and services and to export products. This chapter presents background information and connections between tribal lands and peoples and the freight system that serves California.

Native Tribes and population

California’s 110 tribal governments represent almost 20 percent of the total number (566) of federally-recognized tribal governments in the contiguous United States (U.S.) and Alaska. Many more tribes are currently undergoing the complex process of applying for federal recognition status2, which may require acts of Congress, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, or Executive Orders to enact federal tribal recognition status.

The nation’s federally-recognized tribes hold the political status of sovereign nations. This status provides federally-recognized tribes the right of self-governance, which includes the ability to make laws and to be governed by those laws. Each tribe also has a tribal government that provides multiple programs and services. Once recognized, a tribe has a legal government-to-government relationship with the U.S., and the U.S. government has a fiduciary trust responsibility to protect tribal lands, assets, resources, and treaty rights.

California has the nation’s largest American Indian and Alaska Native population at 723,225, as reported in the 2010 U.S. Census. Native Americans make up 1.7 percent of the total California population, with about two-thirds of the 58 counties having populations exceeding that percentage. Behind the city of New York, Los Angeles has the second highest population of American Indian and Alaska Natives (alone or in combination with other races) and as a percentage of total population, Santa Rosa tops the list in California.



Tribal Lands and Proximity to Freight Facilities

Great expanses of California are regarded as ancestral lands that contain important sacred and spiritual locations, burial grounds, traditional foods and materials, and cultural resources. Currently, federally-recognized tribal land is dispersed throughout the State but is most heavily concentrated in areas south and east of Los Angeles County and the northern California coast. San Diego County is home to 17 tribal governments and 18 reservations – the most in one county in the contiguous United States. Sixteen (16) federally-recognized tribes located in Riverside and San Bernardino counties are within the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) metropolitan planning region. Not all tribes have reservations or rancherias, and several groups are seeking federal recognition. In general, most tribal lands are located in rural areas.

State highway routes provide vital access and connectivity for tribal lands. However, given the rural location of most reservations and rancherias and the roadway geometric restrictions of some rural State highways, some of the State highways and many local roads providing access to tribal lands do not allow full-size, 53-foot truck trailers (the standard “big rig”). Having to break large truckloads of goods down to transfer and fit into smaller trucks can add cost and time to tribal shipment deliveries, resulting in increased business and consumer prices. Terminal access routes and last-mile freight connections are of vital importance to tribal governments engaging in economic development.

Many tribal lands are in close proximity to or intersect with California State routes. One hundred (91 percent) of the federally-recognized tribes in California have trust land within five miles of a State route. Tribal land in the possession of 86 (78 percent) of the recognized tribes is within two miles of State routes and 39 (35 percent) of the tribal governments have trust land that intersects with the State Highway System.3 The following maps (Figures 3-1.1 and 3-1.2) depict the general location of Native American trust lands in California and their proximity to the highway freight network and freight rail facilities. Due to the small size of many of the trust lands, they are not highly visible on the maps and it is necessary to view a more localized map to understand the context of a particular tribal location.

Since over 90 percent of tribal lands are close to State highways, improving freight infrastructure access between thoroughfares and local tribal service roads is crucial. The handful of existing programs dedicated to tribal governments for accessibility projects are listed in Table 3-1.2. Continued partnerships with tribes, Caltrans, and local agencies will play a key role in enabling the necessary access and economic development to help alleviate high unemployment in Indian Country.

In its comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding the proposed national Primary Freight Network, the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) recommended that the federal freight planning guidance include roadway connections between trust lands and the federally designated freight network similar to the proposed rural freight connectors and conceptual urban freight connectors. Federal guidance regarding the designation of the rural and urban connectors has not yet been issued. In order to be consistent with the pending federal designation process, Caltrans will engage in the designation of tribal freight connectors at the same time as the rural and urban connectors are identified. In many cases, it is likely that the tribal and rural connectors will utilize the same routes.

As with many neighborhoods in close proximity to major truck routes or rail lines, residents may be negatively impacted by freight activity, without benefit from the movement of that freight through their communities. The same can apply to tribal lands in close proximity to the freight system; however, through consultation, negative impacts may be mitigated or avoided.

Given the rural location of most reservations and rancherias, tribal residents rarely have freight transportation-related employment opportunities. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 2010 national unemployment rates in Indian Country4 were five times higher than among non-natives. A December 2013 economic policy report5 confirms that the overall national Native American unemployment rate far exceeds the non-native unemployment rate. In November 2013, California’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent overall. However, 33 of the 58 counties (57 percent), mostly rural, had unemployment rates above the State average. With the exception of Sierra and Los Angeles counties, the remaining 31 counties with higher unemployment have Native American populations above the State average.

One means by which Native American tribes can reduce unemployment is through Tribal Employment Rights Ordinances (TEROs) – legislative acts, adopted by the governing body of a federally-recognized tribe. Tribal employment policies and programs pursuant to a TERO create job opportunities for Native Americans, especially in rural counties and regions with limited economic opportunities, high unemployment rates, and high levels of Native Americans who live below the national poverty level. Examples of such policies include hiring preferences, job skills banks, and training. Caltrans supports these policies and programs through Department Deputy Directive (DD 74-R2) and related implementation guidelines.6

Building a stronger economic base on tribal lands can also help decrease unemployment and facilitate development in Indian Country, as can be attested by some tribes who are already benefitting from vibrant economies. Many Native American tribes have economic potential in areas such as timber, gaming, minerals, and tourism; however, all of these businesses require access to goods movement infrastructure to develop.

In particular, tribal gaming has become a popular way to generate revenue and job opportunities. As of July 2014, the California Gambling Control Commission identified 60 active tribal casino gaming sites throughout the State. These gaming facilities and the hotel/conference centers that often accompany them generate significant freight activities for the shipment of food, other supplies, building materials, waste, and other items. Many sites are clustered in Southern California with several scattered throughout the Central Valley and many in northern portions of the State. Being in rural locations, many of these facilities possess only one ingress and egress route, which is shared by freight, customers, emergency services, and employee traffic.

According to the 2014 California Tribal Gaming Impact Study, tribes play a substantial role in the State and local economy. In 2010, tribal gaming alone generated over $7.5 billion through operations with more than half ($3.9 billion) generated outside of direct spending from the gaming operations, meaning local businesses and trade located off reservation. In addition, tribes have created over 52,000 jobs generating over $2.7 billion in annual tribal and non-tribal employment income. Non-gaming tribes are also supported by tribes with gaming activities.



Table 3-1.2 Tribal Government Financial Programs

Program

Funding Source

Description

Tribal Transportation Program

Highway Account

This program provides access to basic community services for tribal communities. This program replaces the Indian Reservation program.

Federal Lands Transportation Program

Highway Account

This program provides funding for projects that provide access to or within federal or tribal land.

Federal Lands Access Program

Highway Account

This program provides funding to improve access to transportation facilities that are located on or adjacent to, or that provide access to federal or tribal land.

Federal Lands Planning Program

Highway Account

This program provides funding for transportation planning activities on federal lands or tribal facilities, similar to the Statewide and Metropolitan transportation planning funding.

Tribal High Priority Projects Program

General Fund

This program supplements the Tribal Transportation Program (TTP) by providing funding to tribal communities for high priority projects, or emergency-disaster projects.

Public Transportation on Indian Reservations

Mass Transit Account

This program provides funding for capital, operating, planning, and administrative expenses for public transit projects for rural tribal communities.

Sources: Federal Highway Administration Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Federal Lands Highway Programs and Federal Transit Administration Public Transportation on Indian Reservations websites

tribal consultation

The 110 federally-recognized tribes in California are all governments with inherent sovereign powers. As such, the State of California must engage in government-to-government consultation with tribes on matters affecting their respective tribal lands, cultural heritage sites, and other matters of particular significance to each tribe. Caltrans Director’s Policy 19 guides Caltrans’ relationship with tribes, requiring the Department to “recognize and respect important California Native American rights, sites, traditions and practices.” Tribal consultation is as a vital step in the transportation planning process.

In preparing this California Freight Mobility Plan (CFMP), Caltrans staff participated in four “listening sessions” in various locations in the State and received input from 40 Native American tribes. The listening sessions were organized to engage in conversations with tribal representatives and others regarding several major plans being developed by Caltrans, including the CFMP. The tribes provided invaluable insight into tribal transportation needs and how the tribal consultation process should proceed. During the sessions, participants expressed the desire for earlier and more substantive consultation. Some stated that tribal consultation should be more open and that tribal input should be more seriously considered. Participants generally agreed that further work should also be done to create partnerships between tribes and regional agencies on funding and project development.

As a result of these suggestions, Caltrans will work to better implement the consultation process and build stronger partnerships with the Native American community. This consultation process will emphasize two-way collaboration, communication, education, and timely notice. Previous to the listening sessions, two representatives from the Native American community were invited to serve as members of the California Freight Advisory Committee and have done so. In addition, Caltrans freight planning staff regularly participates in Native American Advisory Committee (NAAC) meetings.

Ideally, early coordination would include Caltrans District and Headquarters Native American Liaisons being kept apprised of freight-related transportation issues with Native American communities in their districts – through direct consultation and coordination and through available tribal transportation plans. On a parallel path, District system planners should include locations and planned projects in the vicinity of recognized tribes within all pertinent planning documents [such as Transportation Concept Reports (TCRs), Project Initiation Documents (PIDs), and the Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan (ITSP)]. With regard to projects that may impact tribal lands, Caltrans staff needs to reach out, coordinate, clarify, and ensure conflicts with regulations and policy do not occur. Most important, Caltrans will begin the process of consultation at the earliest possible stage to allow Native American tribes to give input that helps shape the final product, and vice versa. Depending upon the circumstances, Caltrans will attempt to engage with each affected tribe one-on-one, with other tribes at listening or coordination sessions, and/or through advisory committees such as the NAAC.

To further engage regional partners, efforts to identify Native American tribal transportation needs, including a freight project list, in Regional Transportation Plans (RTP) should be pursued. Where Tribal Transportation Plans include freight projects, those projects should be included in the CFMP project list. Nearby planned projects should involve consultation in the form of input to the planned freight project (including railroad crossings, bridge rehabilitation, and roadway expansion) location and design to minimize negative tribal impacts.

Many tribes are already active participants with their local Metropolitan Planning Agencies (MPOs) and Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs) due to federal consultation requirements for project compliance and adhering to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). Both existing and planned projects often impact historical cultural resources, and federal and state laws require proper mitigation when addressing such resources.

Although the consultation process adds further steps to planning and project development processes, in the long run, it can often result in speedier project approval and construction. This is because consultation helps avoid challenges to projects and uses local knowledge to avert potential problems. There are also numerous other benefits to consultation, such as preservation of cultural sites, greater community input and buy-in, improved transportation efficiency, and multimodal transportation. Tribal consultation is therefore not only an obligation but also an asset to Caltrans’ business model.



tribal Needs

During 2008-2010, the Caltrans Native American Liaison Branch (NALB) funded 43 statewide tribal transportation needs assessments and engaged in government-to-government consultation with California tribes implementing TERO in an effort to understand tribal transportation needs, employment issues, and concerns. The NALB also conducted research and analysis of TEROs and Native American unemployment issues. Through these efforts, NALB discovered that:



  • California TERO Tribal Government unemployment rates ranged from approximately 40 to 75 percent compared to already high corresponding county unemployment rates that ranged from 10.5 percent to 27 percent; and

  • From 16.7 to 46.7 percent of Native American and Alaska Native (a category for whom poverty status is determined by the U.S. Census Bureau) populations live below the national poverty level in corresponding counties where TERO Tribes are located.7

Statewide tribal freight needs typically encompass project coordination and financial assistance with mutually-beneficial transportation endeavors such as roadway access, operations, and maintenance.




Table 3-1.1: Federally-Recognized Tribal Governments in California

County

Tribe

Riverside

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Modoc

Alturas Rancheria of Pit River Indians

Riverside

Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians

San Diego

Barona Group of the Capitan Grande

Humboldt

Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria

Mono

Benton Paiute Reservation (U-Tu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe)

Butte

Berry Creek Rancheria of Tyme Maidu Indians

Humboldt

Big Lagoon Rancheria

Inyo

Big Pine Paiute Tribe of Owens Valley

Fresno

Big Sandy Rancheria of Mono Indians

Lake

Big Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Inyo

Bishop Paiute Tribe

Humboldt

Blue Lake Rancheria

Mono

Bridgeport Paiute Indian Colony

Amador

Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians

Riverside

Cabazon Band of Indians

Colusa

Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians (Colusa Rancheria)

Mendocino

Cahto Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria

Riverside

Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians

Calaveras

California Valley Miwok Tribe (aka Sheep Ranch Rancheria of Me-wuk)

San Diego

Campo Kumeyaay Nation

Modoc

Cedarville Rancheria of Northern Paiute Indians

San Bernardino

Chemehuevi Reservation

Tuolumne

Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk

Sonoma

Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Del Norte

Coast Indian Community of Resighini Rancheria

Fresno

Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians

San Bernardino

Colorado River Indian Tribes

Colusa

Cortina Rancheria of Wintun Indians

Mendocino

Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians

Sonoma

Dry Creek Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Lake

Elem Indian Colony of Pomo (aka Sulphur Bank Rancheria)

Del Norte

Elk Valley Rancheria

Butte

Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians

San Diego

Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians (aka Cuyapaipe Band of Mission Indians)

Sonoma

Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (formerly known as the Federated Coast Miwok)

County

Tribe

Modoc

Fort Bidwell Indian Community of Paiute

Inyo

Fort Independence Community of Paiute

San Bernardino

Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

Imperial

Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Nation

Plumas

Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians

Glenn

Grindstone Rancheria of Wintun-Wailaki Indians

Mendocino

Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians

Lake

Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake

Humboldt

Hoopa Valley Tribe

Mendocino

Hopland Band of Pomo Indians

San Diego

Inaja and Cosmit Band of Mission Indians

Amador

Ione Band of Miwok Indians

Amador

Jackson Band of Mi-Wuk Indians

San Diego

Jamul Indian Village

Siskiyou

Karuk Tribe

Sonoma

Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria

San Diego

La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians

San Diego

La Posta Band of Mission Indians

Inyo

Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation

San Diego

Los Coyotes Band of Mission Indians

Lake (and Sonoma)

Lower Lake Rancheria Koi Nation

Sonoma

Lytton Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians

Mendocino

Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria

San Diego

Manzanita Band of Kumeyaay Nation

Butte

Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria

San Diego

Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians

Lake

Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Butte

Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians

Riverside

Morongo Band of Mission Indians

Madera

North Fork Rancheria of Mono Tribe

San Diego

Pala Band of Mission Indians

Tehama

Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians

San Diego

Pauma Band of Luiseño Mission Indians (Pauma and Yuima)

Riverside

Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians

Madera

Picayune Rancheria of Chuckchansi

Mendocino

Pinoleville Pomo Nation

Shasta

Pit River Tribe (includes XL Rancheria, Lookout Rancheria, Likely Rancheria)

Mendocino

Potter Valley Tribe

Siskiyou

Quartz Valley Indian Community

County

Tribe

Riverside

Ramona Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians

Shasta

Redding Rancheria

Mendocino

Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo

San Diego

Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians

Lake

Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Mendocino

Round Valley Reservation (Covelo Indian Community)

Riverside

San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians

San Diego

San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians

Riverside

Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians

Santa Barbara

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians

San Diego

Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueño Indians

Lake

Scotts Valley Band of Pomo

Lake

Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo

El Dorado

Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians

Del Norte

Smith River Rancheria of California

Riverside

Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians

Lassen

Susanville Indian Rancheria

San Diego

Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation

Fresno

Table Mountain Rancheria

Kings

Tachi Yokut Tribe (Santa Rosa Rancheria)

Kern

Tejon Indian Tribe

Inyo

Timbisha Shoshone Tribe

Riverside

Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians

Humboldt

Trinidad Rancheria/Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community

Tulare

Tule River Indian Tribe

Tuolumne

Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk

San Bernardino

Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians

Placer

United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria

San Diego

Viejas Band of Mission Indians

Alpine

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California

Sacramento

Wilton Rancheria Indian Tribe

Humboldt

Wiyot Tribe, Table Bluff Reservation

Alpine

Woodfords Community Tribal Council (Part of Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California)

Yolo

Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation (aka Rumsey Indian Rancheria of Wintun)

Humboldt

Yurok Tribe


Figure 3-1.1: Native American Trust Lands and Highway Freight Networkc:\users\s113542\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\temporary internet files\content.word\pfn and tribal lands for plan.png

Figure 3-1.2: Native American Trust Lands and Major Freight Rail Facilities


Major Freight Rail Facilities
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1 Unique to California, the term “rancheria” was originally used in the early 1900’s in reference to lands provided to Native American tribes (prevented from purchasing or owning their own land by the Land Claims Act) by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, many of which were on or near rancheros created by Spanish land grants and where tribes had been engaged in indentured servitude. For more information, see the Native American Heritage Commission’s Short Overview of California Indian History, at http://www.nahc.ca.gov/califindian.html.

2 “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Native Peoples”, Native American Rights Fund, http://www.narf.org/pubs/misc/faqs.html, accessed December 13, 2013.

3 California Division of Transportation Planning, March 2010.

4 William Woods, “The Trajectory of Indian Country in California: Rancherias, Villages, Pueblos, Missions, Rancherias, reservations, Colonies, and Rancherias,” 44 Tulsa L. Rev. 317 (2008).

5 Algernon Austin, “High Unemployment Means Native Americans are Still Waiting for an Economic Recovery,” Economic Policy Institute Issue Brief #372, December 17, 2013, pps. 1-2, 4; http://www.epi.org/publication/high-unemployment-means-native-americans/, accessed on January 2, 2014.

6 Caltrans Deputy Directive 19, http://dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp/offices/ocp/nalb/Images/TEROsigned.pdf; and Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) guidance, http://dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp/offices/ocp/nalb/Images/TERO/TERO_Guide_03_02_2012.pdf, accessed on January 2, 2014.

7 Data Sources: 2009-2010 Tribal Transportation Needs Assessment Reports prepared by IBI Group, LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc., and Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates; CA Employment Development Department Monthly Labor Force Data For Counties (not seasonally adjusted), March 2010; U.S. Census Bureau, 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, S1701: Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months, California; GIS Data provided by Bureau of Indian Affairs January 2009, data prepared by GIS, Advanced Systems Planning, DOTP, Caltrans, 2010.

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