Tribal Self-Governance Health Care and Social Services Delivery Effectiveness Evaluation Feasibility Study: Legislative History and Development of Tribal Self-Governance and Contracting - Revised Report. 4.6 Title IV - Tribal Self-Governance Regulations – Department of the Interior


In 1994, Congress added Title IV, making permanent the Tribal self-governance authority for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior. (98) The Secretary was also directed to negotiate funding agreements for programs administered by Interior agencies other than BIA. In the Amendments, the Congressional statement of findings provided: "The right of self-government flows from the inherent sovereignty of Indians Tribes and nations." (99) (100) The Amendments provided for negotiated rulemaking.

A Joint Tribal/Federal Self-Governance Negotiated Rule Making Committee was formed in 1995. A majority of the Committee's membership was made up of tribal representatives drawn from Tribes that had tribal self-governance agreements. The final regulations were published on December 15, 2000.

The regulations provided authorization for selecting up to 50 Tribes per year to participate in self-governance agreements. In order to qualify as an applicant, a Tribe would have to complete a planning grant, have submitted a resolution requesting participation, and have demonstrated financial stability and financial management capability. The Secretary of the Interior was directed to negotiate and enter into written funding agreements with Tribes. The regulations provided for retrocession from all or a portion of a contracted program. Construction contracts could be made subject to Federal procurement laws and regulations by incorporating their terms into funding agreements.

Under the regulations, Agreements are to be sent to Congress and to potentially affected Tribes 90 days before they are executed. Funding for direct and contract support costs is to be included in funding agreements and advance payments can be made. The Secretary is required to interpret laws and regulations in a manner that will facilitate implementation of agreements. After receiving a request for a waiver, the Secretary has 60 days to either approve or deny the request. Denials are subject to administrative due process hearing and appeal. The Secretary is required to submit an annual report to Congress that provides information on costs and benefits. The report is to be shared with the Tribes and their independent views obtained. The report must include their comments. (101)