Utah officials have once again invited members of 400 tribes from across the country to their state to further open conversations about how the entities can work together to help solve some of most pressing problems facing Indian Country.
The Daily Herald reports that talks between the groups on how to go about alleviate hardships on reservations will happen this week at a two-day state summit in Salt Lake City.
The summit was organized by Utah’s governor and lieutenant governor, and will be attended by federal officials as well.
Fundamental problems – such as a lack of healthcare, excessive poverty or substance abuse – cannot be solved as long as tribes and government agencies engage in turf wars, said Paul Tsosie, the chief of staff for Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Larry Echo Hawk.
State and regional summits are not uncommon, Tsosie said, but the Utah gathering is somewhat unique because it’s organized by Gov. Gary Herbert and other state officials.
“Tribes and states don’t always get along, because you have jurisdictional issues,” Tsosie said. “This opens the door for state agencies to work with the tribes, instead of against them.”
This is the sixth summit held in Utah and will take place on the University of Utah’s campus.