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USGS Office of Tribal Relations

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SISNAR Internship Program

The Student Interns in Support of Native American Relations (SISNAR) program provides student interns work opportunities on current USGS projects directly related to, and preferably on, Native American tribal lands, assisting Tribes with natural resource research issues including water, hazards, fish and wildlife, and climate change. These mutually beneficial projects also serve to build upon or create new relationships with Native American Tribes. Through an internal competitive process, the USGS Office of Tribal Relations tribal liaison team solicits internal proposals and selects USGS projects that most benefit the Tribe on whose land the research is being conducted (each Tribe must provide written support for the internship) and that will provide meaningful internship experiences that educate students about management of tribal natural resources.

2015 SISNAR Awardees

  1. Elliot Barnhart
    1. WY-MT WSC, Helena, MT
    2. Water Mission Area
    3. Differentiating mercury inputs and biogeochemical cycling in Bighorn Lake, Bighorn Canyon National Recreational Area
    4. Crow Nation (Apsaalooke), Crow Agency, MT
  2. Faith Fitzpatrick
    1. WI WSC, Middleton, WI
    2. Water Mission Area
    3. Bad River watershed assessments
    4. Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Odanah, WI
  3. Tabitha Graves
    1. Northern Rocky Mountain Science Ctr (NOROCK)
    2. West Glacier, MT
    3. Ecosystems
    4. Huckleberry monitoring on the Flathead Reservation
    5. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), Pablo, MT
  4. JoAnn Holloway
    1. Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center, Denver, CO
    2. Minerals and Environmental Health Mission Area
    3. Trace metal mobility in the Yellow Pine mining district, Idaho
    4. Nez Perce Tribe, McCall, ID
  5. Jason Masoner
    1. OK WSC, Oklahoma City, OK
    2. Water Mission Area
    3. Investigation of hydrogeology and water availability in the Osage Nation of Oklahoma
    4. Osage Nation, Pawhuska, OK
  6. Joel Schmutz
    1. Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK
    2. AK Region Area
    3. Identifying demographic constraints for Emperor Geese a Bering Sea endemic of conservation concern for villages on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
    4. Village of Chevak and the Qissunamiut tribal government, Chevak, AK
  7. Ryan Toohey
    1. Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK
    2. Climate and Land Use Mission Area
    3. Indigenous Observation Network: water quality, permafrost, and climate health
    4. Arctic Village Council, Arctic Village, AK
  8. Christian Torgersen
    1. Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Corvallis, OR
    2. Ecosystems Mission Area
    3. Using Beaver to Restore Ecosystem Functions in the Skykomish Watershed
    4. Tulalip Tribes, Tulalip, WA
  9. Isa Woo and Susan De La Cruz
    1. Western Ecological Research Center, Sacramento, CA
    2. Pacific Region Area
    3. Quantifying invertebrate foodweb resources for juvenile Chinook within the Nisqually River Delta
    4. Nisqually Indian Tribe, Olympia, WA


The USGS provides technical training in geospatial information, hydrology, wildlife diseases, and other topics, depending on available needs and resources. The USGS has also developed and held a Tribal Relations Training course for its employees to facilitate positive interactions with Tribes.

Additional information on training activities.

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