Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Project development

Engineering process | Planning

Tribes and Transportation Coordination


Minnesota is home to eleven federally recognized sovereign tribal nations, each of which is separate and unique. Each tribe has an independent relationship with the United States and the State of Minnesota. MnDOT recognizes the unique sovereign status of federally recognized tribes, the cultural values of American Indian tribes in Minnesota, and is committed to strengthening the government-to-government relationship with tribal nations.

When to use this subject

Coordinate with the tribes for projects on or near a reservation (reasonable commuting distance), on tribal lands, or when the work involves actual or potential actions that may affect tribal interests. To help with your project’s coordination efforts, refer to the “Indian Country Guidance” manual which provides technical guidance and information on MnDOT policy, procedures, and requirements for work that impacts Indian country. This manual ensures that you can conduct your work in a consistent and uniform manner, following MnDOT’s Tribal Nations policy.  

The Office of Tribal Affairs is available to help answer your questions about working with tribal officials and staff. Please see the Tribal Affairs Functional Group Description and the MnDOT’s Tribes and Transportation webpage.

For specific process information, see the process, other guidance, legal authority pages and/or contact the individuals on the contacts page.

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

You must work with the tribes over the entire development, construction and maintenance of the project. Know that tribal government road directors meet quarterly at the Advocacy for Tribes and Transportation (ACTT) board meetings with District Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Each District leads annual Tribal-District Planning meetings with tribal nations to coordinate and communicate on construction related programs.

Organizations involved