In the July 2018 edition of the E-Enterprise Bulletin, E-Enterprise and Exchange Network Interoperability and Operations Team (IOT) member April Hathcoat of the Cherokee Nation discusses her involvement as a tribal representative in E-Enterprise and the valuable lessons she has learned along the way.
What roles do you fill on behalf of the E-Enterprise initiative?
I am a member of the Interoperability and Operations Team (IOT), as well as the Tribal Exchange Network Team (TENT), formally known as the Tribal Governance Group. The primary purpose of the TENT is to ensure representation of tribal perspectives and issues in the overall governance structure and to encourage more tribal participation in the Exchange Network/E-Enterprise (EN/EE).
What have you found to be most rewarding from your involvement in the E-Enterprise initiative?
The members of TENT, along with the awardee of the U.S. EPA Office of Environmental Information cooperative agreement for EN tribal support (currently the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals), hosts an annual Tribal Exchange Network Conference. Conference participation continues to increase every year, and it is wonderful to see how tribes have become involved in the EN/EE initiative and the transformation of individuals from “newbies” to subject matter experts and mentors.
In which specific E-Enterprise projects are you currently involved, and how will these improve environmental outcomes?
I am a member of the EE Community Inventory Platform (EECIP) Steering Group. We have released Version 1.0 of the Inventory, and the group is working on next steps, including the development of communities of interest for specialized EE community members like tribal officials. The inventory is a valuable tool for users who want to find out what projects their peer agencies have completed or are undertaking, to find contact information, and to ask questions of others in the community. The ability to view a tribal community of interest should also be very useful.
What lessons have you learned through your experience with EE/EN and IOT?
Besides making us aware of the multitude of projects being undertaken, the best part of IOT involvement is meeting other environmental professionals who work in various capacities but have the same goal: collaborating to enhance productivity and provide access to reliable information. I also feel that the IOT Co-Chairs truly value tribal perspectives and feedback.