Feasibility Study for the Evaluation of DHHS Programs That Are or May Be Operated Under Tribal Self-Governance. Methodology for Site Visits and Tribal Data Review


Site visits were made to five Tribes and one Tribal organization to assess the feasibility of conducting an evaluation of DHHS programs managed under Tribal Self-Governance.  The site visits focused on determining the extent to which there are historical documentation and knowledgeable individuals who are able to provide background and information on the development and goals of Tribal management of Federal programs, the Tribes’ management information systems capabilities, and the availability, sources, and completeness of data on each program managed by Tribes.  The two-day site visits were conducted by a two or three-person team during late June through August 2003. 

While selection of site visit participants depended on availability of willing volunteers, the Technical Working Group and DHHS developed several criteria for selecting Tribes for the study.  These criteria were:

  • All Tribes selected should have three or more years of experience with compacting or contracting IHS health programs.
  • Preference should be given to Tribes that have experience in managing, under contracts or grants, the DHHS programs determined to be feasible to include in a Self-Governance Demonstration of non-IHS DHHS programs.
  • In addition, the sites selected, to the extent possible, were to reflect the following:
  • Geographic diversity, reflecting the distribution of the AI/AN population;
  • Variation in the size of the Tribe’s population; and
  • Variation in economic conditions (i.e., average income, employment levels) of the Tribe.

These criteria were substantially met in the selection of the Tribes that participated in the site visits.

The process developed by OASPE, the Technical Working Group, and the project team for recruitment of Tribes to participate in site visits included:  1) a presentation on the project by the OASPE Project Officer at the Tribal Self-Governance meetings held in late April 2003 in Phoenix; 2) distribution of a letter of invitation to all Tribes to participate, and relevant background materials, at the Tribal Self-Governance meetings; and 3) mailing of the letter of invitation and background materials to all Tribal leaders during the last week in April.  Tribes interested in participating in the site visit were asked to contact the project staff by May 20, 2003 to indicate their interest and/or to obtain additional information.

The site visits were conducted in July and August 2003 to the six Tribes/Tribal organizations listed here:

  • Bois Forte Band of Chippewa (Minnesota)
  • The Choctaw Nation (Oklahoma)
  • Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (Washington)
  • Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (Alaska)
  • Hopi Nation (Arizona)
  • Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians (Michigan)