199. Report of the Task Force on Indian Economic Development, July 1986
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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 continue to staff and support programs for tribes while the transition to selfdetermination and self-efficiency is being made. While the Bureau of Indian Affairs supports tribal efforts to reach self-determination and control of their own affairs, it also has a solemn obligation to meet the dictates of the trust responsibility. And when selfdetermination and the trust face off in a headto -head confrontation, as they sometimes do, the trust obligation under law take precedence . . . . American Indians (Washington: Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1984), 11–12.] 199. Report of the Task Force on Indian Economic Development July 1986 Economic development is a major concern on Indian reservations, and over the years repeated studies have been made of the issue. A special task force, made up of staff members of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Budget and Administration (Interior Department) or of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and organized in 1985, issued its report of findings and recommendations in the summer of 1986. While not intended to convey official policy, the report highlighted problems and made recommendations. It relied to some extent on an earlier report issued in November 1984 by the Presidential Commission on Indian Reservation Economies. . . . . I. Summary of Task Force Findings [tables omitted] Indian Socioeconomic Status The 1980 U.S. Census identified 1.37 million Indians living in the United States. Of this total, about 25 percent were living on reservations. Of the 1.03 million Indians living off reservations, about 11 percent were residing in the Oklahoma historic areas, 23 percent in counties adjacent to reservations, and 66 percent in areas more distant from reservations (in many cases far from reservations in major urban centers). Indians living on reservations constituted less than 50 percent of the BIA service population and about 40 percent of total enrolled tribal members. As shown by the 1980 census . . . thirtytwo percent, or almost a third of all reservation Indians, were living on the Navajo reservation. Fully 57 percent of reservation Indians were living in the Southwest region (consisting of Arizona, Southern California, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah). The region with the second largest reservation population was the Northern Great Plains, where 16 percent of reservation Indians were living. Reservation Indians in the East constituted 11 percent of all Indians living on reservations . The Northwest, Rocky Mountain and Southern Great Plains regions all had less than 10 percent of the reservation Indian population. As is widely known, Indians living on many reservations have suffered from relatively low incomes, high unemployment, high poverty rates and other adverse socioeconomic circumstances, compared with the 310 U.S. population as a whole. . . . Indians living off reservations have a signi ficantly higher socioeconomic status than reservation Indians—at least by standard socioeconomic measures. . . . The 1980 census found the poverty rate for off-reservation Indians to be 22 percent. This was much higher than the 12 percent poverty rate for the U.S. as a whole, but also much lower than the 41 percent poverty rate for reservation Indians. The total unemployment rate for all Indian males ages 20 to 64 and living off reservation was 26 percent. Again, this was much higher than the corresponding figure for U.S. males (18 percent), but much lower than the corresponding figure for reservation males (58 percent). Federal Economic Development Programs The economic problems of Indian reservations began to receive significantly greater national attention under the poverty programs begun in the mid 1960s. . . . Three agencies—the Office of Economic Opportunity (and its successor the Administration for Native Americans), the...


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