Inter-Tribal Council of California

Tribal Stewardship Training and Employment Program (T-STEP)


Sierra Institute

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment has been serving the community for more than two decades. Their mission revolves around promoting healthy and sustainable forests and watersheds. Specifically, they aim to increase the capacity of rural communities to participate in maintaining these areas and in decision-making concerning natural resources. This commitment underscores the Institute’s dedication to fostering community engagement and environmental stewardship.

The Sierra Institute’s programming adopts a holistic approach, addressing the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, and community aspects. By considering these dimensions simultaneously, they strive to support the overall health and well-being of regions they serve. This comprehensive strategy reflects a deep understanding of the multifaceted challenges facing rural communities and the natural environment.

Description of partnership

The Sierra Institute has played an important role in building capacity for tribal workforce training and development in collaboration with ITCC. Through the development of new programs, ITCC is committed to developing a certified tribal workforce and enabling tribal crews to engage in restoration work in a variety of capacities, including the stewardship of ancestral lands. Tribal crews have the unique capacity to incorporate “Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge” to restore the landscape and build environmental resilience.

Currently, the Institute has partnered with ITCC to create a program that provides tribal members with technical training, administrative assistance, and workforce development opportunities related to land stewardship. T-STEP was born out of collaboration between the Sierra Institute and the Intertribal Council of California, representing the commonalities between the missions of both organizations. Together, the two organizations have joined to use their resources for the betterment of California tribes and the lands that they inhabit.