198. Bureau of Indian Affairs Statement of Policy1984
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308 13. Legal Protection of Indian Natural Resources 14. Federal Environmental Protection 15. Miscellaneous Federal STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OBSTACLES 1. Jurisdictional Disputes Among Tribes, States, and Local Governments 2. State Banking Law Security 3. Private Sector Competition’s Access To Capital 4. Municipal Procurement Restrictions . . . . [Presidential Commission on Indian Reservation Economies, Report and Recommendations to the President of the United States (Washington : Government Printing Office, 1984), pt. 1, p. 25; pt. 2, pp. 29, 43, 57, 69.] 198. Bureau of Indian Affairs Statement of Policy 1984 From time to time the Bureau of Indian Affairs has issued booklets on the work and policies of the Bureau. One such publication was BIA Profile: The Bureau of Indian Affairs and American Indians, issued in 1981. Another, prepared by the Public Affairs staff and published in 1984, was called simply American Indians. The extract from it printed here states the objectives and policy of the Bureau. . . . The principal objectives of the Bureau of Indian Affairs are to actively encourage Indian and Alaska Native people to manage their own affairs through the contracting of programs and other means under a trust relationship with the federal government; to facilitate, with maximum involvement of Indian and Alaska Native people, full development of their human and natural resource potentials; to mobilize all public and private aids to the advancement of Indian and Alaska Native people for use by them; and to utilize the skill and capabilities of Indian and Alaska Native people in the direction and management of programs for their benefit. —— In spite of its visibility in working with Indian tribes and Alaska Natives, there remains confusion in the minds of many people concerning just what the Bureau of Indian Affairs actually does. Years of criticism and complaint have colored the image of the Bureau and a general misunderstanding of the mission and goals of the organization continues to surface. In discharging its duties, the Bureau does not attempt to manage the affairs of the 488 federally-recognized tribes served by the organization. The era of paternalism is dead. Instead, a viable policy of Indian self-determination, emphasized by President Reagan’s January 24, 1983, Indian policy statement, keys the direction of the Bureau. In little more than a decade, self-determination has altered the thrust of Bureau of Indian Affairs activities, shifting the focus from that of a program services organization to one that assists tribes in taking control of their own affairs. Accepting the challenge of this federal policy, tribal governments have established a record of unparalleled progress. To speed the process, the Bureau spends a great deal of time, money and effort in developing tribal administrative skills to operate Indian programs. Contracting of Bureau programs is one of the principal means for tribes to take control, and Bureau officials are encouraging its use. Instead of the Bureau operating a school or, say, a social services program on a reservation, the tribe operates it under a contract with the Bureau. Assistant Secretary Kenneth Smith has made it one of his prime objectives to increase dollar volume of programs under contract and the trend is upward. Contracting by tribes to operate programs totalled $241 million in fiscal 1983, and is expected to increase to $245 million in fiscal 1984 and $250 million in fiscal 1985. It is estimated in fiscal 1985 the Bureau will contract with 325 tribes and tribal groups, entering into some 1,275 separate contracts. The $250 million amount for these contracts represents 27 percent of the total Bureau budget. These figures become even 309 more impressive when compared with fiscal 1976, the first year of the Indian selfdetermination services program, when around 200 tribes contracted for 800 programs . Contracting—coupled with the selfdetermination grants program, which has the same aim—clearly defines the path ahead for the Bureau and federally-recognized Indians and Alaska Natives. Tribes are assuming greater responsibilities in such areas as social services, law enforcement and developing and managing their resources. As tribes accept control of these areas, the presence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs will lessen. But some things will remain the same. The three major areas of responsibility from which the goals and budget of the Bureau of Indian Affairs are derived include support of the government-to-government relationship, carrying out the trust responsibility , and administrative support required in the conduct of federal operations. These responsibilities will remain constant in the face of change. Also, the Bureau will...