Tribal Self-Governance Virtual Conference: September 14 - 16, 2021

2017- NORTHERN ARAPAHO TRIBE, Plaintiff v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

“Having obtained a preliminary injunction that prevents the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) from awarding a contract under the Indian Self Determination Act (“ISDA” or “Act”), Pub. L. No. 93-638 (“638”), 88 Stat. 2203 (1975) (codified as amended at 25 U.S.C. § 5301 et seq.),1 to operate shared BIA programs on the Wind River Reservation to one tribe without the consent of the other tribe, the Northern Arapaho Tribe (“NAT”) now asks this Court to allow it to effectively do just that. Without seeking consent of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe (“EST”), the NAT has submitted proposals for 638 contracts to take between 70 percent and 100 percent of funds currently allocated for shared services on Wind River to create new NAT-administered programs on the Reservation. The ISDA, however, only allows a tribe to take over the operation of an existing program. It does not empower the NAT to unilaterally demand funds previously dedicated to programs that served both the NAT and the EST, particularly when the NAT’s proposals do not explain how the BIA or the EST could continue to provide services for EST tribal members with the remaining funds. To hold otherwise would permit a tribe receiving shared service to dictate to the agency not only what funds it should receive but how funds for other tribes should be reduced. Such a result is not only contrary to this Court’s prior decision but also the text and spirit of the ISDA. In this case, a review of the record of the NAT’s proposals and the BIA’s decision-making demonstrates that the BIA correctly declined each proposal identified in the NAT’s Amended Complaint. Accordingly, this Court should deny the NAT’s motion for partial summary judgment and should grant the BIA’s cross-motion.”

File Type: pdf
Categories: Judicial

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