(Our Background)

The only united Indian consortium on solid waste policy and environmental matters.

In 1997, several Pacific Northwest Tribes banded together to begin addressing solid waste and environmental issues in Indian Country. Overburdened with the need to keep up with development on the national level, while maintaining a firm grasp on local waste management issues, Tribal members formed an alliance where we could begin to share information and technology. Recognizing not only the value of shared resources, but also the need for a voice in policy-making, we formed the Tribal Solid Waste Advisory Network (TSWAN). Members are Tribes who have voluntarily come together for mutual support and assistance, with each Tribe designating one representative to attend quarterly meetings, granting them the capability to speak and vote on behalf of the Tribe. These representatives constitute the decision-making body of TSWAN, who annually elect a Board of Directors that includes a President, Vice-President, and Secretary/Treasurer. All members must be officially enrolled in a federally recognized Indian tribe.

As a group, we are gaining recognition for our efforts and establishing effective relationships with other agencies. TSWAN has created a model program of inter-Tribal partnership by promoting the commonality of Tribal lands and our desire to protect and enhance our natural resources. TSWAN has made great strides in working with many agencies by creating a forum for coordination between Tribes and agencies who are charged with solid waste management in Indian Country. The value TSWAN brings to this interaction is crucial insight from our experiences, both independently and as a group, to help navigate through the vast region of solid waste management policies and principles. We provide Tribal perspectives to agencies and organizations designing waste programs and practices so they may be effective in Indian Country.

Today, we are a nonprofit organization of 34 federally recognized Tribes and other tribal consortia throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, working to make effective and environmentally responsible solid waste management a priority on our reservations and in our communities. One of our primary goals is to work towards sharing technical expertise, information, and opportunities with one another. To date, we are the only united Indian consortium on solid waste policy and other environment-related matters.

We’ve found we have a stronger, more organized voice when we speak together than when we speak only for our own Tribe and reservation. We welcome participation by other Tribes and invite you to join us.