Haaland, Young’s Legislation to Bolster Self-Governance, Empower Tribes Signed Into Law

October 22, 2020
Press Release

Albuquerque, N.M. – Yesterday afternoon, U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland (D-NM), Don Young (R-AK), Tom Cole (R-OK), and Ruben Gallego’s (D-AZ)  PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act was signed into law. The new law will enhance the ability of tribes to enter into, and carry out, compacting agreements. It also aligns the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) compacting approval process with the one currently used by the Indian Health Service (IHS) to improve consistency for tribes. These compacts are vital for upholding the federal government’s trust responsibilities with tribes and promoting self-governance and local control.  

“Tribes have always been their own best stewards, but the red tape that they face when implementing programs hinders their ability to do best by their own communities. This legislation was built on a decades-long effort of Tribal leaders and organizations to further our efforts to support true tribal self-governance to empower, and I’m honored that this bill has now been signed into law. Through the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act, Tribes will now have the freedom and flexibility to be able to serve their people in a way that best fits their needs,” said Rep. Deb Haaland.

“I am very pleased that the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act has been signed into law, and I am grateful to have helped get it across the finish line. Throughout my time in Congress, tribal self-determination has always been one of my highest priorities. The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (ISDEAA) was the foundation that empowered tribes with authority to contract and compact federal trust services. This has profoundly impacted Indian country as tribes are the best stewards of their health care, resources, and education.  I was proud to serve as a cosponsor on the PROGRESS Act, which builds on the success of ISDEAA by making practical policy improvements that help tribes enhance and expand their contracting opportunities,” said Rep. Don Young. “Now that this bill has been signed into law, tribes will be better able to tailor self-governance programs to suit their needs, thereby increasing their effectiveness and efficiency. I would like to thank my friend, Congresswoman Deb Haaland, and Chairman John Hoeven for their leadership on this legislation, and I look forward to our continued work together on behalf of Indigenous people across our country.”

“Sovereignty is the foundation upon which government-to-government relationships between the U.S. and Tribal nations is built. The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act empowers Tribes to more fully and easily exercise their sovereignty, which is why I am proud to see this bill become the law of the land today,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, Chair of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States.

“The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act rightly grants Native American tribes more freedom to allocate funds in their communities as they see fit. Doing so recognizes the right to self-governance of the many separate and sovereign tribal nations that exist in our country. I am proud that President Trump signed into law this critical legislation that will benefit tribal communities, their economies and their sovereignty” said Rep. Tom Cole, a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.