indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Job Opening - Editor - Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Times
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Appeals court turns down Navajo Nation again
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2003

The Navajo Nation on Tuesday lost a second attempt to increase the amount of money needed to administer welfare programs for the largest tribal population in the country.

In a unanimous decision, a full panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the tribe's funding lawsuit. Eleven judges who reheard the case, first decided a year ago, arrived at the same conclusion: welfare programs can't be contracted under the landmark Indian Self-Determination Act.

"[P]rograms or services that are 'for the benefit of Indians because of their status as Indians' must be federal programs specifically targeted to Indians and not merely programs that collaterally benefit Indians as a part of the broader population," wrote Judge M. Margaret McKeown the majority.

The dispute arose when the Navajo Nation sought to administer a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. But rather than going through the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the 1996 law that shifted federal welfare programs to the states, the tribe asked for a self-determination contract.

The move would have allowed the tribe to obtain additional "contract support costs" from the federal government. The welfare act, on the other hand, contains no such provision.

But even those additional funds aren't enough to cover shortfalls that run in the millions, tribal leaders say. Based on late 1990s studies, as much as $81 million in support costs is needed in order to carry out the programs effectively.

The courts have been sympathetic to the complaints. However, they have deferred to the federal agencies, which in turn are dependent on how much money Congress gives them. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals confronted this issue in another funding dispute involving the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Tribe of Nevada.

"As this case demonstrates, the adequacy of the funding provided for tribal indirect costs has proven to be a recurring and troublesome issue," wrote Judge Stephen H. Anderson in a unanimous November 2002 decision against the two tribes.

Like the Navajo Nation, the tribes are suing to obtain a greater pot of money to administer health programs. Last week, the tribes petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Tribal TANF programs are often tailored to meet specific needs that state welfare programs cannot. With about 26 percent of Native Americans living in poverty, more than twice the national poverty rate, advocates say tribes can better serve their own people.

"Welfare reform must work for everyone," said Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who has introduced a bill to create a special $500 million tribal TANF fund. "And it's important that tribes exercise their sovereignty to make welfare programs best fit the needs of their people."

Get the Decision:
NAVAJO NATION v. DEP'T OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVS., No. 99-16129 (9th Cir. April 08, 2003)

Relevant Links:
Navajo Nation - http://www.navajo.org
Office of Family Assistance - http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa
Department of Health and Human Services - http://www.hhs.gov

Related Stories:
Court rebuffs tribes on contract funding dispute (11/27)
Navajo Nation challenges contract policy (10/04)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Urban Indian organization seeks new center (11/26)
Tentative schedule for White House Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
White House invites youth to DC for Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
Leslie Wheelock: Touting nation-to-nation trading and tourism (11/26)
Kevin Abourezk: A mystery of Indian agents with same name (11/26)
Michael Allen: My ancestor took part in Sand Creek Massacre (11/26)
Dean Suagee: EPA's Clean Power Plan affects Indian Country (11/26)
Mark Rogers: Finding something to be thankful for this holiday (11/26)
Former convicted leader of Crow Tribe seeks to clear his name (11/26)
Blackfeet Nation denies political motive in arrest of ex-leader (11/26)
Appeal set in dispute over Navajo Nation presidential hopeful (11/26)
Judge allows NFL team lawsuit against young Native activists (11/26)
NPR: Alaska Natives put traditional spin on Thanksgiving meal (11/26)
Column: Group helps rescue dogs from Pine Ridge Reservation (11/26)
First Nation offers reward for information about missing man (11/26)
First Nations face loss of funds over failure to submit salaries (11/26)
Santa Ysabel Band responds to state lawsuit over online bingo (11/26)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation to meet over liquor sales at casino (11/26)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe could lose casino's liquor license (11/26)
Mashantucket Tribe looks to shift revenues away from gaming (11/26)
Agua Caliente Band selects planner to revamp land near casino (11/26)
Washington gaming panel cuts jobs as non-Indian revenue falls (11/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe to issue IDs at tournament (11/25)
James Giago Davies: Polygamy and shunning in Lakota culture (11/25)
Ben Shelly: There's a lot to be thankful for on the Navajo Nation (11/25)
Cara Cowan Watts: Share the blessings of the Cherokee Nation (11/25)
Joe Sexton: BIA's 'ugly' land policies stuck in the 19th century (11/25)
Jenny Durkan: Cop who killed Native man wasn't charged either (11/25)
Oklahoma claims Citizen Potawatomi Nation must collect taxes (11/25)
Divided court won't extend Seneca Nation immunity to business (11/25)
Vice: North Dakota tribe sees $25M a month in energy royalties (11/25)
Members of Lumbee Tribe proud to carry on tradition of service (11/25)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe donates $10K to local food pantry (11/25)
Slate: Non-Indians were encouraged to move to tribal territory (11/25)
Column: Remains of Dakota man hanged in 1862 kept in home (11/25)
Family members plead guilty to thefts from reservation town (11/25)
Authorities investigate fatal crash involving Bad River officer (11/25)
Editorial: Yakama Nation must disclose plans for clean water (11/25)
Roy Burton: Montana tribe puts its people at risk with gaming (11/25)
Lawmaker asks BIA to wait on Cowlitz Tribe casino acquisition (11/25)
Gaming compacts on agenda for 2015 session in New Mexico (11/25)
Quapaw Tribe faces even more competition for Kansas casino (11/25)
Pala Band wins final approval for online gaming in New Jersey (11/25)
Mashantucket Tribe still thinking about Massachusetts casino (11/25)
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.