Working Together For A Safer Tomorrow

Principal Investigator: 
Performance Period: 
October 2008 to June 2015
Commercialization Status: 
Project Keywords: 
Tribally Inclusive Geographic Area (TIGA)
This report provides an overview of Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow activities for Year 11.  It covers the period from early July 2014 through 30 June 2015.   Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow, a.k.a. WTST, assists in providing opportunities for stakeholders to reduce the economic impact of terror and disaster events in underrepresented and underserved rural and urban areas, with a specific focus on Tribally Inclusive Geographic Areas (TIGA). Introduced in Year 6 and expanded throughout Years 7-9, a TIGA is a geographical construct of land areas and stakeholders in, near or adjacent to, or affiliated with, indigenous tribal communities which are: Federally or state recognized, non-recognized, hold claims to land, or hold disputed land areas; and neighboring non-tribal entities including corporations and businesses, institutions, non-profit and faith based organizations, and local, state, regional, or agency governments. Within TIGA, Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow provides opportunities for American Indian tribes, tribal corporations, tribal colleges, tribal gaming enterprises, Alaska Native villages and corporations, and adjacent governments and neighboring non-tribal communities to manage risks. WTST activities work within TIGA by providing TIGA stakeholders opportunities to work together as collaborators to identify risks, analyze data, develop impact reduction strategies, and implement risk-based activities via a series of symposia and workshops, public service announcement distributions, and ‘boots on the ground’ activities.   The results of these efforts have led to the development of collaborations between tribal and non-tribal entities as well as the implementation of collaborative impact reduction projects where tribal entities are provided opportunities to serve as institutional, organizational, or fiduciary co-leads with neighboring non-tribal communities and governmental entities. Critical education and outreach work is provided by a cadre of ‘boots on the ground’ faculty-student teams with an open presence and availability for educational and outreach assistance in areas related to risk management. Additionally, BOG faculty student teams, via activities using established and accepted anthropological based unobtrusive field observation and open source information gathering, collect data, analyze data, and review data results to assess risk and present findings to appropriate TIGA stakeholders when applicable or as requested.     This work builds on previous CREATE efforts through Years 1 through 10 to promote risk awareness and risk factor identification training for American Indian communities and underrepresented or underserved populations and to develop collaborative working relationships between tribal and non-tribal entities.   The following objectives, built upon those in Year 10, were revised and continued in Year 11:    A. Improve the informal national network of tribal and indigenous communities committed to  working together with non-tribal neighboring entities including governments, business and industry,   academic and research institutions, etc., to identify risks and risk management practices. B. Increase terror risk awareness and disaster event awareness in TIGA and underrepresented communities. C. Improve accessibility to risk management tools, data interpretation methodologies, and other      related resources for TIGA resource allocation decision-makers. D. Enhancement of efforts to prepare “The Next Generation of Homeland Security Professionals”       via student recruitment and participation in Working Together projects E. Complete a draft assessment of costs related to implementing ‘government-to-government’      requirements for post-disaster assistance requests to FEMA from tribes.   Throughout the year, Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow team members, students, and activity participants planned, developed, implemented, or assisted with activities related to each of the above five objectives. Haskell Indian Nations Foundation provided fiduciary management responsibilities.  Dr. Anne Garland and Dr. Kathleen Fischer assisted with various projects and student development via the non-profit research and educational organization Applied Research in Environmental Science (ARIES).   Objective A: Working Together for a Safer Tomorrow continued to expand an informal national network (originally developed and initiated in Year 5) via the creation of an expanded database of interested stakeholders and potential participants. This network consists of members within TIGA communities committed to working together with governments, business and industry, academic and research institutes, etc., to identify risks and develop and implement risk management practices.  By Year 10, over 1200 TIGA representatives or entities have formally or informally, directly or indirectly, participated in Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow symposia, workshops, presentations, networks, or program activities.  Activity participants include individuals from corporate, academic, governmental, and other entities in addition to TIGA representatives. As a result of participation in these educational and outreach efforts and activities as well as providing various types of support, over 700 individuals representing a wide range of entities have opted to contribute to WTST efforts. They are diverse, possess a variety of knowledge, skills, and abilities; span a variety of cultures and geographic regions, and in many cases have provided a range of professional, service, and resource contributions.   Again, WTST’s and ARIES’ domestic efforts in indigenous population risk management support by CREATE did not go unnoticed internationally.  In year 11, as a result of networking opportunities initiated during Year 7 at the 2011 DHS Summit and continued throughout Years 8 and 9 and 10, WTST and ARIES, were again invited by Massey University and the New Zealand entities to assist in risk management and risk reduction educational and outreach activities for Maori communities, the indigenous peoples of New Zealand who have a shared culture and history with native Hawaiians.    Objective B: Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow continued to provide educational and outreach assistance to TIGA communities in an effort to increase risk awareness and risk management. For example, throughout Year 11, Dr. Anne Garland continued to lead efforts in Arizona, Alaska, and New York TIGA to promote self-directed enhancement toward a regional approach to risk management. CREATE students lead by Dr. Mitchell presented risk management posters at national conferences and events including the International Organization of Social Sciences and Behavioral Research annual conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans In Science in Los Angeles, California, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society in Orlando, Florida, and at Elizabeth City State University, an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and a consortium institution of the University of North Carolina. Faculty and students showcased risk management related research via both poster and oral presentations throughout the United States as well as Canada and New Zealand. WTST and ARIES provided partial support for student participants from both the Hispanic and African American communities to participate in informal and formal learning, oral, and poster sessions at several conferences.   Throughout Year 11 Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow (WTST), via Applied Research in Environmental Science (ARIES), continued to provide both education and outreach by engaging in small group and one-on-one conversations with members of TIGA communities in several states including New York, Wisconsin, North Carolina, California, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington in an effort to determine and document self-identified risks, map and identify regional shared resource use potentialities, define perceived and actual challenges to risk reduction, and develop plans for in person or online regional risk assessment training workshops or symposia. During and after all of these events, WTST or ARIES faculty, and students, made their services and products available to TIGA community members, thus strengthening the networking bond with additional individuals and organizations dedicated and committed to reducing the economic impact of terror or disaster events. As an example, Kyle N. Horne, a WTST Alumni completed the first of two minute public service announcements for a video project titled ‘Disaster Series’ related to the prevention and reduction of vector exposure risk during an outbreak of chikungunya disease in Puerto Rico.   Outreach to underrepresented populations in Year 11 continued to expand. Outreach populations targeted included American Indian, Mexican American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, and African American community members and leaders, as well as participants at WTST or ARIES multi-functional events. Over 1000 underrepresented community members in Year 11 were exposed to or actively participated in risk management education and outreach programs and activities related to risk and economic impacts of terror or disaster events. In some cases, such as Dr. Garland’s joint work through ARIES with indigenous populations on the North Slope in Alaska, entire governments and communities in very broad geographic regions were both exposed to, and actively participated in, risk management activities.   Objective C: Throughout Year 11 activities to enhance accessibility to risk management tools, data interpretation methodologies, and other related resources for TIGA resource allocation decision-makers continued. The Cumulative Regional Integrated Operability Score (CRIOS) placed online in Year 8 via the ARIES website as an open source tool continued to be used in varying degrees throughout Year 11. One-on-one onsite training sessions were conducted in two TIGA. Throughout Year 11, Working Together researchers continued the successful, albeit time-intensive ‘low tech’ and in some cases, ‘no-tech’ small group meetings with TIGA representatives, modeled after successful meetings originally developed in Year 6 in upstate New York and Wisconsin, which assisted TIGA resource allocation decision-makers open historically closed doors of communication creating a basis for the establishment of trust based relationships. Throughout various TIGA, open discussions provided diverse TIGA stakeholder decision makers opportunities to explore and enhance abilities to access open source and proprietary based risk management tools, conduct basic data interpretation, and learn new resource allocation methodologies. Throughout Year 11, WTST faculty continued to establish in-person field contacts (which are critical when working with more sensitive or remote tribal communities) and to provide learning opportunities and enhanced access to resources for key resource allocation decision-makers and elders. In every Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow activity, elders were formally invited and included as valued contributors and participants at all levels.   Objective D: Efforts to prepare “The Next Generation of Homeland Security Professionals” via student recruitment and participation in Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow projects took place throughout Year 11.  Several educational activities were supported by Applied Research in Environmental Science (ARIES) and resulted in student travel awards. Joel Gonzalez-Santiago, for example, was provided three travel awards to support attendance at conferences based on worked promoted and supported, in part, by ARIES. Other WTST ARIES students and alumni participated in applied and field based research activities and presenting results at local, regional, and national conferences. Additionally, WTST is pleased to state that Paul Ashley White completed his master’s degree and chose to serve in the United States Army. He was commissioned in December 2014. The new Lt. White joins several other WTST alumni who have been commissioned as officers in one of the services and are assigned to a homeland security related field.   Objective E: During Year 10, WTST and ARIES jointly collaborated on processes to identify and review economic impacts related to post-disaster assistance requests to FEMA from Indian tribes. WTST and AREIS faculty, often with students, travelled to reservations initiating requests for direct FEMA disaster assistance to offer assistance and review the economic impacts of the process. This initial work provided the groundwork for further review and study of the various socio-economic impacts of FEMA’s nation to nation relationship responsibilities. Also during Year 10, several tribes initiated disaster declarations and some were approved thus allowing those tribes with disaster declarations to serve as lead agencies under FEMA in the same leadership capacity as any state. Because data is not yet officially available for all the Year 10 tribal disaster declarations, there is an unanticipated delay in the completion of a draft assessment of costs related to implementing ‘government-to-government’ requirements for post-disaster assistance requests to FEMA from tribes. This draft is expected to be completed as soon as official data is made available by FEMA which is dependent upon the tribes submitting final documentation.   In summary, Working Together for A Safer Tomorrow planned, developed, implemented, or assisted in activities related to reducing the economic impact of terror and disaster events. A national network of entities within Tribally Inclusive Geographic Areas (TIGA) including governments, business and industry, academic and research institutes, etc., participated in risk management activities. The number of TIGA community members trained in risk management was increased. WTST and ARIES indigenous community approaches and models were recognized and shared internationally. Accessibility to risk management tools, data interpretation methodologies, and other related resources for TIGA resource allocation decision-makers was improved. Efforts to prepare “The Next Generation of Homeland Security Professionals” were enhanced as evidenced by a variety of recognitions and acknowledgements. With the exception of Objective E, which is dependent upon the availability of official data release by FEMA, each of the Year 10 objectives was met.