Tribal Self-Governance Health Care and Social Services Delivery Effectiveness Evaluation Feasibility Study: Revised Draft of Background Materials. Additional History Concerning Tribal Self-Governance Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act Excerpt from the Part IV Final Rule; Applies to Department of Interior Published December 15, 2000, Volume 65, Number 242, Page 78687-78735


“The Indian Self-Determination Act Amendments of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-472), authorized the Tribal Self-Governance Demonstration Project for a 5-year period and directed the Secretary to select up to 20 Tribes to participate. The purpose of the demonstration project was to transfer to participating Tribes the control of, funding for, and decision making concerning certain Federal programs, services, functions and activities or portions thereof. In 1991, there were 7 annual funding agreements under the project, and this expanded to 17 in 1992. In 1991, the demonstration project was extended for an additional three years and the number of Tribes authorized to participate was increased to 30 (P.L. 102-184). The number of self-governance agreements increased to 19 in 1993 and 28 in 1994. The 28 agreements in 1994 represented participation in self-governance by 95 Tribes authorized to participate.

“After finding that the Demonstration Project had successfully furthered Tribal self-determination and self-governance, Congress enacted the “Tribal Self-Governance Act of 1994”, Public Law 103-413 that was signed by the President on October 25, 1994. The Tribal Self-Governance Act of 1994 made the Demonstration Project a permanent program and authorized the continuing participation of those Tribes already in the program.

“A key feature of the 1994 Act included the authorization of up to 20 Tribes per year in the program, based on their successfully completing a planning phase, being duly authorized by the Tribal government body and demonstrating financial stability and management capability. The Act was amended by Public Law 104-208 on September 30, 1996, to allow up to 50 Tribes annually to be selected from the applicant pool. In 1996, the Act was also amended by Public Law 104-109, “An Act to make certain technical corrections and law related to Native Americans”. Section 403 was amended to state:

“(1) INCORPORATE SELF-DETERMINATION PROVISIONS--At the option of a participating Tribe or Tribes, any or all provisions of title I of this Act shall be made part of an agreement entered into under title III of this Act or this title. The Secretary is obligated to include such provisions at the option of the participating Tribe or Tribes. If such provision is incorporated, it shall have the same force and effect as if set out in full in title III or this title.

“The number of annual funding agreements grew by one to 29 in 1995 and grew to 53 and 60 agreements in 1996 and 1997, respectively, to include 180 and 202 Tribes. Self-Governance has continued to grow. In 1999, there were 67 annual funding agreements with BIA covering 209 Federally recognized Tribes. Also in 1999, there were three annual funding agreements between Self-Governance Tribes and non-BIA bureaus.

“The Tribal Self-Governance Act of 1994, as amended, authorized the following:

  1. The Director of the Office of Self-Governance may select up to 50 Tribes annually from the applicant pool to participate in Tribal Self-Governance.
  2. To be a member of the applicant pool each Tribe must have: (a) Successfully completed a planning phase that includes budgetary research and internal Tribal government planning and organizational preparation; (b) have requested to participate in Self-Governance by resolution; and (c) have demonstrated financial stability and financial management capability for the previous 3 years as evidenced by the Tribe having no material audit exceptions in their required annual audits of Self-Determination contracts.
  3. The Secretary is to negotiate and enter into annual written funding agreements with the governing body of each participating Tribe that will allow that Tribe to plan, conduct, consolidate and administer programs that were administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) without regard to agency or office within which such programs were administered. Subject to such terms of the agreement, the Tribes are also authorized to redesign or consolidate programs and reallocate funds.
  4. The Secretary is to negotiate annual funding agreements with Tribes for programs administered by the Department other than through BIA that are otherwise available to Indian Tribes. Annual funding agreements may also include programs from non-BIA bureaus that have a special geographic, historic or cultural significance to the participating Tribe.
  5. Tribes may retrocede all or a portion of the programs.
  6. For construction projects, the parties may negotiate specific provisions of the Office of Federal Procurement and Policy Act and Federal Acquisition Regulations for inclusion in annual funding agreements. If not included, then such provisions do not apply.
  7. Not later than 90 days before the effective date of the agreements, the agreements are to be sent to the Congress and to potentially affected Tribes.
  8. Funding agreements shall provide for advance payments to the Tribes of amounts equal to what the Tribe would be eligible to receive under contracts and grants under this Act. This is to include direct program and contract support costs in addition to any funds that are specifically or functionally related to the provision of benefits and services by the Secretary to the Tribe or its members without regard to the organizational level within the Department where such functions are provided.
  9. Except as otherwise provided by law, the Secretary shall interpret laws and regulations in a manner that will facilitate the inclusion of programs and the implementation of the agreements.
  10. The Secretary has 60 days from the receipt of a Tribal request for a waiver of Departmental regulations in which to approve or deny such a request; denial can only be based upon a finding that such a waiver is prohibited by Federal law.
  11. An annual report is to be submitted to the Congress regarding, among other things, the identification of the costs and benefits of Self-Governance and the independent views of the participating Tribes. The Secretary is to publish in the Federal Register, after consultation with the Tribes, a list of, and programmatic targets for, non-BIA programs eligible for inclusion in annual funding agreements.
  12. Nothing in the Act shall be construed to limit or reduce in any way the services, contracts or funds that any other Indian Tribes or Tribal organizations are eligible to receive under any applicable Federal law or diminish the Secretary's trust responsibility to Indian Tribes, individual Indian or Indians with trust allotments.

“The Act also authorized the formation of a negotiated rulemaking committee if so requested by a majority of the Indian Tribes with Self-Governance agreements. Such a request was made to the Department of the Interior and a rule making committee was formed. Under section 407 of the Act, membership was restricted to Federal and Tribal government representatives, with a majority of the Tribal members representing Tribes with agreements under the Act. Eleven Tribal representatives joined the Committee. Seven Tribal representatives were from Tribes with Self-Governance agreements and four were from Tribes that were not in the Self-Governance Program. Formation of the Rulemaking Committee was announced in the Federal Register on February 15, 1995.

“The first meeting of the Joint Tribal/Federal Self-Governance Negotiated Rule Making Committee was held in Washington, DC on May 18,1995 prior to publication of the proposed rule, a total of 12 meetings of the full Committee were held in different locations throughout the country. Subsequently, several meetings were held to review public comments and to negotiate changes in the final rule. The last meeting was held in Washington, DC in March 1999. There were numerous workgroup meetings and teleconferences during this period that were used to develop draft material and exchange information in support of the full Committee meetings. At the first meeting of the Committee, protocols were developed. The main provisions of the protocols were:

  1. The Committee meetings were open, and minutes kept. The Federal Advisory Committee Act did not apply under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.
  2. A quorum consisted of 8 members, including 7 Tribal members and 1 Federal member. The Tribal and Federal representatives each selected co-chairs for the Committee and an alternate.
  3. The Committee operated by consensus of the Federal and Tribal members and formed 5 working groups to address specific issues and make recommendations to the Committee.
  4. The intended product of the negotiations is proposed regulations developed by the Committee on behalf of the Secretary and Tribal representatives. The Secretary agreed to use the preliminary report and the recommendations on the final regulations, developed by the Committee, as the basis for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
  5. The Committee has reviewed all comments received from the notice of the Proposed Rule making and has submitted a final report with recommendations to the Secretary for promulgation of a final rule.
  6. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services was used to facilitate meetings.

“The proposed regulation was published in the Federal Register on February 12, 1998 with a 90-day public comment period. Topics on which the Negotiating Committee had not reached agreement were identified in a preamble section titled, “Key Areas of Disagreement.” The Federal Register notice specifically invited comments on these areas. Fifty-four comments were received from a wide variety of Tribal groups and individual Tribes, Federal entities, and other groups and individuals. Many comments presented positions on the areas of disagreement. Subpart S, which pertained to Property Donation in the preamble of the proposed rule, pertains to Conflicts of Interest in the final rule. Property Donation is now in subpart Q of the final rule.”