indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Tribes ask Congress to address contract shortfalls
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The leader of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is sponsoring a bill that seeks to resolve a federal funding dispute that tribes say is costing them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) will hold a hearing this morning on S.2172, the Tribal Contract Support Cost Technical Amendments of 2004. He will take testimony from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service, the two federal agencies responsible for most of the programs available to Indian Country.

But the experience of tribal leaders is what is driving the debate. As tribes take over more and more of the BIA and IHS programs through contracts, they are running into shortfalls that affect their ability to carry out the goals of self-determination.

"If the U.S. has a contractual relationship with anybody out there in the U.S., it honors those contracts," Ron Allen, the chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe of Washington who is one of the witnesses at the hearing, said recently. "Today, the U.S. is not honoring the full contracts that it has with existing tribes."

This year alone, tribes who manage BIA and IHS programs will see a $142 million shortfall, according to estimates from the National Congress of American Indians. Reports from the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, also document the shortfalls.

The issue is significant enough that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether the IHS has to fund the contracts fully. A date for the hearing has not been set.

The dispute is rooted in the landmark Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. Under the law, passed in 1975, tribes can enter into contracts to manage BIA and IHS programs. The law dictates that tribes receive no less than the amount the government would have spent on the programs.

The law also requires the agencies to provide tribes with additional funds, known as contract support costs, needed to carry out the programs. But the BIA and IHS have interpreted this requirement differently than tribes. The agencies say they are limited by what Congress appropriates.

Campbell's bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), is a response to the tribal concerns. The measure would take away the discretion of the IHS or BIA by requiring them to provide enough contract support costs to tribes. Dr. Charles Grim, director of the IHS, and William Sinclair, the director of the Office of Self-Governance and Self-Determination at the BIA, will share their views at the hearing.

Also testifying is Chad Smith, the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. The tribe is leading the contract support costs case against IHS and won an $8 million ruling last July from a federal appeals court. But this conflicted with another ruling that said the IHS didn't have to pay. The Supreme Court will resolve the dispute.

Lloyd Miller, an attorney representing the Cherokee Nation and other tribes, will testify as well. He has filed a separate class action lawsuit on behalf of Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico seeking to recover damages against IHS for failing to provide contract support costs. The case is on hold pending the Supreme Court's decision.

The hearing takes place at 10 a.m. More information can be found on the committee's web site at http://indian.senate.gov.

Get the Bill:
Tribal Contract Support Cost Technical Amendments of 2004 (S.2172)

Contract Support Cost Litigation:
Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry

Lower Court Decisions:
Fed Circuit: Thompson v. Cherokee Nation (July 3, 2003) | 10th Circuit: Cherokee Nation v. Thompson (November 26, 2002) |

Relevant Documents:
Docket Sheet No. 03-853: Thompson v. Cherokee Nation | Docket Sheet No. 02-1472: Cherokee Nation v. Thompson | Department of Justice Petition No. 03-853 | Department of Justice Supplemental Brief No. 02-1472

Related Decisions:
9th Circuit: Shoshone-Bannock v. Thompson (October 16, 2001) | 9th Circuit: Navajo Nation v. HHS, No. 99-16129 (April 8, 2003)

Relevant Links:
Contract Support Costs, NCAI - http://www.ncai.org/main/pages/issues/
governance/contract_support.asp

Related Stories:
Supreme Court to resolve self-determination dispute (03/23)
Supreme Court weighs self-determination dispute (03/09)
Court rules tribe owed self-determination funds (07/07)
Appeals court turns down Navajo Nation again (04/09)
Court rebuffs tribes on contract funding dispute (11/27)
Navajo Nation challenges contract policy (10/04)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Cobell beneficiaries still waiting on payment (7/24)
Navajo Nation president to discuss brutal murders with mayor (7/24)
NCAI President Cladoosby offers cedar hat to BIA's Washburn (7/24)
Woman waiting in line at SCIA hearing reportedly had bedbugs (7/24)
S.E. Ruckman: Tribal members share frustrations on IHS care (7/24)
Mark Rogers: System exploits misery of our nation's veterans (7/24)
Fort Belknap Tribes depend on revenue from Internet lending (7/24)
Oglala Sioux Tribe still working on plan for legal alcohol sales (7/24)
Two Native girls charged with assault for hockey game brawl (7/24)
Chickasaw Nation welcomes public to new community center (7/24)
Oregon tribe plans major development at historic village site (7/24)
Unsettled Ch. 26: Passamaquoddy dealings cloaked in secrecy (7/24)
KCAW: BLM supports Alaska Native corporation in land dispute (7/24)
Mixed martial arts fighter from Lumbee Tribe proud of heritage (7/24)
Granddaughter of former team owner condemns racist mascot (7/24)
Opinion: Chief Black Hawk was notorious leader of Ute people (7/24)
Remote tribes facing threats from drug trafficking and logging (7/24)
BIA indicates Tohono O'odham Nation can use land for gaming (7/24)
Pojoaque Pueblo wants to take state out of casino operations (7/24)
Iipay Nation started planning Internet poker games last year (7/24)
Fighter seriously injured at Trinidad Rancheria's casino event (7/24)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe concerned about potential gaming site (7/24)
Native Sun News: Great Plains tribes call for full contract funds (7/23)
Native Sun News: Candidate wants Obama to meet with tribes (7/23)
Audio: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on gaming (7/23)
President Obama nominates Jonodev Chaudhuri to lead NIGC (7/23)
Class III compact for Swinomish Tribe lowers legal age to 18 (7/23)
Navajo Nation officials seek meeting in response to murders (7/23)
Larry Spotted Crow Mann: Thank Indian veterans for America (7/23)
Fond du Lac Band tries to uncover cause of foodborne illness (7/23)
Man in Alabama honors Yuchi ancestor with unique memorial (7/23)
Shivwits Band sees early success with gas station and store (7/23)
Seminole Tribe launches marketing campaign for juice brand (7/23)
Mohegan Tribe breaks ground on first of 15 chain restaurants (7/23)
Water bottling plant provides usage reports to Morongo Band (7/23)
WBUR: Tribes rebury one of their ancient relatives in Montana (7/23)
KPLU: Quileute Tribe welcomes man who was rescued in 2010 (7/23)
Unsettled: Free speech costs dearly at Passamaquoddy Tribe (7/23)
MSU News: Online Native studies courses open to registration (7/23)
Opinion: Connecticut tribe deserves a 2nd shot at recognition (7/23)
Ernie Stevens joins American Gaming Association Hall of Fame (7/23)
Employees at Graton Rancheria casino vote to join labor union (7/23)
Sandia Pueblo undertakes first major casino expansion project (7/23)
Mohegan Tribe's poll points to preference for casino in Catskills (7/23)
Native Sun News: Lakota War Path team wins world relay title (7/22)
Raina Thiele: Native youth participate in My Brother's Keeper (7/22)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs looks into tribal gaming (7/22)
NIGC reports 'stable' growth in $28B tribal gaming industry (7/22)
Bail set at $5M for teens accused of murdering Navajo men (7/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.