Inter-Tribal Council of California

About Tribal Stewardship Training and Employment Program (T-STEP)

Inter-Tribal Council Of California

Vision statement

We are the Tribal Stewardship Training and Employment Program (T-STEP). T-STEP’s vision is multi-layered; we aim to restore California’s landscapes to health, whilst also empowering Native communities. Our organization works to undo the damage that colonization has done to both the landscape and the people that inhabit it. T-STEP’s goal is to return to a harmonious relationship between the land and its people, based on traditional cultural methods.


T-STEP employs practical, hands-on training that centralizes the traditional ecological knowledge and practices of California tribes. Our approach emphasizes giving tribal members skills that are helpful not only for stewardship, but for personal career development as well. We are here to support tribes in any way we can when it comes to land stewardship.


We firmly believe that the most impactful skill development and community capacity building opportunities are those who are deeply rooted in their local communities and attuned to their cultural nuances. By recognizing and embracing the unique cultural contexts in which our participants operate, we can tailor our training programs to be more effective, meaningful, and directly useful for their goals.

We recognize that every Tribe possesses distinct traditions, methodologies, and approaches to land restoration. As such, T-STEP aims to serve as a facilitator, providing individual Tribes with tailored support and resources to maximize their efforts. Our approach emphasizes collaboration and mutual assistance, allowing us to leverage the collective wisdom and expertise of our community when deemed appropriate. By fostering a spirit of cooperation and partnership, we can work together to achieve our shared goals of environmental stewardship and cultural preservation.


At T-STEP, we understand that the success of our training initiatives relies on their alignment with the expressed needs and objectives of our members. Therefore, we work with each tribal organization directly to assess and adapt our offerings to meet the evolving demands of their goals and missions.

Another important aspect for the success of our initiative is mutual aid (find out more here). Whenever possible, our organization facilitates a mutual aid based network for stewardship. This serves everybody involved, giving out-group participants the opportunity for further workforce skill development, while helping the hosting group to reach their personnel needs.

Inter-Tribal Council Of California

Regions served

T-STEP’s services and resources are available to any Californian tribal organization. Federal recognition status places constraints on the types of grants available to each tribe, but collaboration with T-STEP is available regardless of federal recognition.