Protecting Tribal Communities and Resources

Welcome back to Emmitsburg, MD.  Today was a day off for our class.  Most of our classmates went out to tour either Washington, D.C. or the battlefields at Gettysburg, MD.  The others chose to stay on campus.  No matter what anyone did though today, it was a picture perfect day.  The rain finally let up, it was a bright sunny day, and comfortably warm.  I saw some of the folks that were out touring and they appear to have enjoyed the sun.

Mitigation for Tribal Governments

I chose to stay on campus today and took advantage of my down time to sit in and observe a new course that was being piloted this week.  The class is titled “Mitigation for Tribal Governments”.  It has been developed to give tribal governments a foundation for reducing or preventing potential losses from natural or other hazards.

“Mitigation for Tribal Governments” provides tribal representatives with an understanding of mitigation concepts and techniques for protecting their communities from all hazards.  The course covers the use of hazard identification and risk analysis for mitigation planning, and provides examples of tribal mitigation successes.  The course also provides an overview of FEMA mitigation programs as opportunities for further reducing risk to all hazards in their community.  This week, 19 various tribal government representatives to attend the class to both learn and provide final revision comments.

One tribe, the Pueblo of Acoma , had seven tribal representatives attending.  Especially significant was the fact that their tribal Governor was a member of the group attending.  Having a tribal leader such as the Governor involved in classes like this, means a great deal to other tribal members.

During one of the presentations, the Governor referenced the past disasters (fire, heavy rain storms, flooding) the tribe faced.  As a result of the destruction endured by the tribe from these incidents, mitigation is something that is very important to the Governor’s tribe.  As he mentioned to his fellow students, farming and planting is very important to his tribe.  If another disaster happens, his tribe would look for help from other tribes nearby.  And while they don’t predict or wish for these events to happen, they know they will, so it’s in their best interest to look at mitigation.  Also, if something happened to one of the other tribes nearby, they would look to the Governor’s tribe for help.

Another unique member of the class was a gentleman representing the Sagkeeng First Nation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  When a foreign representative (tribal or non-tribal) wants to attend classes at EMI, they make application similar to any other American student.  However, there is a through vetting process that their application must go through before being approved.  Generally, foreign applications require at least a six-month lead-time for this review and processing.  Additionally, anyone from a foreign country is required to pay for all of their own travel expenses in addition to course registration fees.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back into training when we begin our CERT Program Manager class.  I hope you’ll check back late tomorrow for another update.


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