Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975

The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (Public Law 93-638) authorized the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and some other government agencies to enter into contracts with, and make grants directly to, federally recognized Indian tribes. The tribes would have authority for how they administered the funds, which gave them greater control over their welfare. The ISDEAA is codified at Title 25, United States Code, beginning at section 5301 (formerly section 450).
Signed into law on January 4, 1975, the ISDEAA made self-determination the focus of government action.[1] The Act reversed a 30-year effort by the federal government under its preceding termination policy to sever treaty relationships with and obligations to Indian tribes. The Act was the result of 15 years of change, influenced by American Indian activism, the Civil Rights Movement, and community development based on grassroots political participation.

What is the Tribal Self-Governance Program?

The Tribal Self-Governance Program (TGSP) is more than an IHS program; it is an expression of the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States and each Indian Tribe. Through the TSGP, Tribes have the option to assume IHS program funds and manage them to best fit the needs of their Tribal communities. Tribes participating in the TSGP negotiate with the IHS and take on full funding, control, and accountability for those programs, services, functions, and activities (PSFAs), or portions thereof, that the Tribe chooses to assume.
Participation in the TSGP is one of three ways that Tribes can choose to obtain health care from the federal government for their members. Specifically, Tribes can choose to:
  1. Receive health care services directly from the IHS.
  2. Contract with the IHS to administer individual programs and services the IHS would otherwise provide (referred to as Title I Self-Determination Contracting).
  3. Compact with the IHS to assume control over health care programs the IHS would otherwise provide (referred to as Title V Self-Governance Compacting or the TSGP).
These options are not exclusive; Tribes may choose to combine them based on their individual needs and circumstances. Participation in the TSGP affords Tribes the most flexibility to tailor health care services to the needs of their communities.
The TSGP is and has always been a tribally driven initiative, and strong Federal-Tribal partnerships have been critical to the program's success. Tribal leaders and representatives have been involved in every stage of the TSGP's development and implementation.
The Office of Tribal Self-Governance (OTSG) serves as the primary liaison and advocate for Tribes participating in the TSGP. The OTSG was established to implement Tribal Self-Governance legislation and authorities in the IHS, beginning with the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Feasibility Study authorized in 1991. The OTSG develops, directs and implements Tribal Self-Governance policies and procedures; provides information and technical assistance to Self-Governance Tribes; and advises the IHS Director on Agency compliance with TSGP policies, regulations, and guidelines.

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