Tribal Sovereignty and Implications for Research & Engagement

Sovereignty is the inherent right of a people to self-government, self-determination, and self-education; including governance within their lands/territory. Sovereign status is a defining feature of Native nations and it differentiates them from other communities with whom the University of Arizona may engage. Understand that any research or institutional engagement conducted on sovereign native land is governed under the authority of that individual Native nation. 

Each Native nation has its own laws, codes, regulations, procedures and/or departmental guidelines governing activity occurring on tribal lands. For information on Arizona tribes, see our AZ Tribal Research Policies page.

Consultation: What is Required?

Arizona Board of Regents Tribal Consultation Policy

ABOR 1-118 Tribal Consultation Policy functions as the highest level of authority, outlining ABOR's expectations and requirements when engaging with Native Nations, by recognizing fundamental principles of tribal sovereignty, consultation, and respect.  ABOR 1-118 requires that all human and non-human research projects, including both unfunded and funded sponsored projects, University of Arizona Foundation initiatives, contracts, intra-university agreements, and other instruments related to tribal engagement must be supported by documented evidence of consultation and approval (ABOR 1-118 B(2)(b)). 

As a Research I Land Grant Institution, the University of Arizona has developed its own consultation guidelines. To find out if consultation and evidence of consultation is required for your work, see the University of Arizona Consultation Guidelines.  It is the responsibility of the University of Arizona faculty, student, or professional to determine and abide by the Native nation's required procedure or protocol for review, approval, and regulation of research or institutional engagement, and to abide by the University of Arizona Consultation Guidelines. 

Informed Consent

Documentation of Native Nation approval must demonstrate that free, prior, and informed consent for the research or institutional engagement has been obtained. The evidence of consent must be sufficient to demonstrate that the consent was provided prior to the research or institutional engagement and is based on adequate information regarding the intent of the research or institutional engagement and the ongoing use of resulting data. See the guidelines on Informed Consent provided by the Human Subjects Protection Program.