Overcoming Challenges to Business and Economic Development in Indian Country. Legislation Supporting BD/ED in Indian Country


Congress has enacted laws designed to promote BD/ED in Indian country, and there are about 100 federal programs to assist tribes or tribal members with BD/ED activities (General Accounting Office 2001). Federal programs that support preferential employment for disadvantaged populations, BD/ED in rural areas, and BD/ED in poor communities with high unemployment are potential sources of support for initiatives in Indian country (Appendix A lists selected legislation and study sites affected by each initiative). The descriptions of tribal BD/ED activities in the following chapter will illustrate how tribes have benefited from these federal initiatives.


(1) Prior to the establishment of the United States, Indian tribes negotiated treaties with colonial representatives of the British, Dutch, and Spanish Crowns.

(2) See United States Code; Title 25, Chapter 21, Section 1901. Supreme Court decisions have supported Congressional control over Indian affairs-see Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez; 436 U.S. 49 (1978), and Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock; 187 U.S. 553 (1903).

(3) The Act establishes three classes of games with a different regulatory scheme for each. Class I gaming is defined as traditional Indian gaming and social gaming for minimal prizes. Regulatory authority over Class I gaming is vested exclusively in tribal governments. Tribes retain their authority to conduct, license, and regulate Class II gaming (bingo and similar games of chance) so long as the state in which the tribe is located permits such gaming for any purpose. A tribe can operate Class III gaming (casino-type games) only if the particular form of Class III gaming is permitted in the state in which the tribe is located.

(4) This principle has been developed primarily in decisions of the Supreme Court, such as Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 30 US (5 Pet.) 1,8 L. Ed25 (1831) and Worchester v. Georgia, 6 Pet. 515 (1832).

(5) The judge in the case, Royce Lambreth, has found Secretaries of the Interior and Assistant Secretaries of Indian Affairs to be in contempt for failing to comply with his orders and rulings. See, for example, [www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell].

(6) In accordance with the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, as amended (discussed in the next section), tribes can take over the operation of many programs formerly operated by the BIA. Citizen Potawatomi was one of the first tribes to take over management of its trust funds.

(7) Examples of laws passed by Congress include the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, ISDEAA (PL 93-638), subsequently amended and expanded; the Indian Employment, Training, and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992 (PL 102-477); the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C.6941 et seq.); the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996, NAHASDA, (PL 104-330); and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PL 104-193).

(8) When a tribe takes over the operation of a program previously operated by a federal agency, even if the tribe retains the former staff, the jobs are new to the tribe and, thus, were "created."

(9) Direct costs are those costs that can be identified specifically with the federally-funded program, or that can be directly assigned to program activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy. Typical direct costs are the compensation of employees for work performed under the federally funded program, and the costs of materials consumed or expended in the performance of the work.

(10) Indirect costs are costs incurred for common or joint objectives and, therefore, cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular project or program, Indirect cost items contribute to the ability of the tribe to support one or more programs. Such costs are normally classified under the following categories: depreciation and use allowances, general administration and general expenses, and operation and maintenance expenses. Indirect costs stem from providing program space and administering the activities, rather than from the actual performance of the program activities.

(11) Indian Health Service, 2001 (http://info.ihs.gov/Resources/Resource3.pdf.)

(12) The Inuit include the Inupiat and Yupik peoples.

(13) There are 12 regions in Alaska, each with a Native corporation created by ANCSA. A thirteenth regional Native corporation was created for Alaska Natives who had left the state and were not shareholders in one of the 12 regional corporations.

(14) The Dawes Act was not enforced on every reservation, so some reservations do not have checkerboard land ownership. Six of the eight tribes in the study have a checkerboard reservation (Cheyenne River Sioux, Colville, Gila River Indian Community, Mississippi Choctaw, Three Affiliated Tribes, Turtle Mountain Chippewa), and one reservation is not checkerboarded (Navajo); one of the tribes (Citizen Potawatomi), like most tribes in Oklahoma, has trust land but not a reservation. Before the Dawes Act, all the tribes in the study occupied lands that were ceded to or taken by the United States through treaties, executive orders, administrative decisions, or force of arms.

(15) The tribe, dissatisfied with the terms of the lease with Peabody and with "ex parte" communications between Interior officials and Peabody, has sued the Interior Department for breach of its trust responsibility.

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