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Indian Affairs seeks input on updated Tribal Self-Governance regulations

PROGRESS Act promotes consensus between U.S. and Tribes

WASHINGTON – The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs today announced proposed amendments to regulations that implement the Tribal Self-Governance program. The proposed changes seek to increase transparency in nation-to-nation consultations and heighten standards for Tribal management. The proposed updates are required by the Practical Reforms & Other Goals to Reinforce the Effectiveness of Self-Governance & Self-Determination for Indian Tribes Act, known as the PROGRESS Act.

The Department of the Interior will initiate nation-to-nation consultation on the proposed changes. These efforts further the Biden-Harris administration’s historic progress to empower Tribal sovereignty, self-determination and prosperity as well as complement the transformational investments in Indian Country made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. These goals also align with President Biden’s executive order on Reforming Federal Funding and Support for Tribal Nations to Better Embrace Our Trust Responsibilities and Promote the Next Era of Tribal Self-Determination, which requires agencies across the federal government to ensure federal funding for Tribes is accessible, flexible and equitable.

“This has been a collaborative process, with genuine consensus-building and nearly unanimous agreement among the negotiated rulemaking committee. I thank the negotiated rulemaking committee for their dedication as we work together to improve the Self-Governance program, allowing Tribes to more efficiently meet the needs of their communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “As we work to finalize this regulation, we will listen to input from Tribes to make sure we are upholding the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities and supporting Tribal sovereignty.”

The Self-Governance program allows Tribes to assume responsibility for administering programs and services that would otherwise be provided by the federal government to best meet the needs of their communities. Examples of programs that can be assumed include, but are not limited to, social services and law enforcement.

The regulation will apply to programs operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and by other bureaus and offices throughout the Department. As directed by the PROGRESS Act, the proposed updates are the product of negotiated rulemaking, a consensus-based process in which representatives of a federal agency and those who will be affected by the regulations negotiate the terms of a proposed administrative rule.

Indian Affairs will gather input on the draft regulations from Tribal leaders through a series of Tribal consultations in July 2024. Comments will also be accepted in writing until Monday, August 22, 2024. For details on dates and locations of consultation and how to submit comments, please visit https://www.bia.gov/service/tribal-consultations/upcoming-tribal-consultation-sessions.

Interior intends to finalize the regulations by December 21, 2024, as required by the PROGRESS Act, as amended.

 

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