Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Conflict in the Courts, Tribal Contracts in the Balance


Last month the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case testing whether federal contracts with Tribes are really contracts at all. The case involves contracts that the Bureau of Indian Affairs awards tribal governments under the Indian Self-Determination Act, but it also has direct implications for tribal contracts with the Indian Health Service. If the government is right, these contracts are not contracts at all. Instead, the government can pay whatever it wants, whenever it wants, even after the Tribes have fully performed their end of the bargain. That outcome would tear down the foundation of the Indian Self-Determination Act, under which Tribes operate one-half of all BIA and IHS operations, and it would relegate Indian Tribes to being second-class contractors.

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