Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Lucius Hallett IV, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nicholas L. Padilla, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lisa M. DeChano-Cook, Ph.D.


environmental, Michigan, natural, tribal, tribe

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


In the year 2022, there are 12 federally reaffirmed Native American tribes in Michigan. These tribes all maintain natural resource departments to manage tribal environments. Indigenous groups have a rich history of protection and understanding of the natural world. This connection to land and water has been systematically challenged through patterns of colonialism. Through policy making, revitalization efforts and environmental ethics, the State of Michigan has been improved by tribal natural resource departments. But, while the United States and the State of Michigan recognizes tribal sovereignty, meaningful tribal consultation is inadequate. Through collaborative interviews, historical sources, and contemporary evidence, this research examines how tribal consultation and collaboration can be improved. The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians assisted throughout this research. Increased funding, clearer definitions, and respect of Indigenous spirituality will be paramount to improving tribal consultation and collaboration.