Tribal Participation in the Bureau of Indian Affairs Budget System Should Be Improved

CED-78-62: Published: Feb 15, 1978. Publicly Released: Feb 15, 1978.

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The degree to which the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) budget reflects tribal needs and priorities depends on the extent of effective tribal involvement. Tribal participation and effective tribal input in BIA fiscal year (FY) 1979 funding decisions varied from total involvement to no involvement at all. Therefore, the BIA FY 1979 budget represents some, but not all, tribal funding priorities.

Participation or effective input by some tribes was limited because BIA: (1) did not give the tribes needed funding data and information to identify all programs and funding sources; (2) did not identify funds for trust responsibilities and essential services that could not be eliminated; (3) varied the programs subject to direct tribal input; (4) imposed a severe time constraint on the tribes for identifying funding priorities; (5) did not give some tribes an opportunity to participate or limited tribal input to review and comment; and (6) did not give tribes an opportunity to participate in developing new programs and making major revisions to existing programs. The conditions that limited participation in the 1979 budget will again limit tribal participation in developing the FY 1980 budget.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs should: give the tribes complete funding data and information, inform the tribes of the exact amount of funds available to change the mix of programs and funding priorities, narrow the criteria for excluding a program from the funding priority-setting process, give the tribes more time to develop program-funding priorities, revise procedures and requirements for setting program-funding priorities to make sure that tribal officials are given an opportunity to identify their priorities, and give the tribes an opportunity to participate in developing new programs and making major revisions to existing programs.

    Agency Affected:

 

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