The Department of the Interior announced on Tuesday new guidance to help federal agencies strengthen collaboration with Indigenous Nations in the management of public lands, water, and wildlife. The new policy will support agreements designed to help tribes co-manage projects on public lands that make up 620 million acres divided among four major federal agencies.

For decades, Tribal governments have been fighting for a larger role in the management of public lands. Through unequal treaty agreements, and outright land seizures by the federal government, Indigenous Nations were removed, often violently, from their traditional territories which were then converted into public lands. Currently, federal agencies have a responsibility to provide services required to protect and enhance remaining Indigenous lands, resources, and governments in exchange for those expropriated territories.

The Department’s new guidance will help Indigenous communities deal with climate change, navigate limited water resources, and build sustainable food production, but is also a formalized recognition of historic injustices.

“By acknowledging and empowering tribes as partners in co-stewardship of our country’s lands and waters, every American will benefit from strengthened management of our federal land and resources,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, in a statement.

Read the full article about Indigenous land management by Brett Marsh at Grist.