HHS Issues Proposed Regulations Governing Buy Indian Act Procurement Procedures

Late last year, the Indian Health Service (IHS) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed regulations that would, if made final, govern IHS’s use of set-asides under the Buy Indian Act (Act). IHS’s current regulations give little guidance on how set-asides under the Act should be made. If the proposed regulations go into effect, officials at IHS will have a better roadmap for setting aside procurements under the Act. Below are key eligibility and procedural updates . . . Read More

Congress Expands Buy Indian Act Procurement Authority: 7 Key Changes Native American Businesses Should Watch

A law passed by Congress at the end of 2020 seeks to expand contracting opportunities under the Buy Indian Act (Act). Through the Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2020, Congress amended the Act to expand the scope of the authority of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make acquisitions subject to preferences for Indian labor and Indian industry under the Act. It is unclear how DOI or HHS will . . . Read More

The First 100 Days: President Biden Signs Memo on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships

Last week, President Biden signed a Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships . In the memorandum, President Biden says “It is a priority of my Administration to make respect for Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, commitment to fulfilling Federal trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations, and regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal Nations cornerstones of Federal Indian policy.” The memo also reaffirms Executive Order 13175 , which “charges all executive departments and agencies with engaging in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of . . . Read More

BIA to Establish Procedures for Federally Recognizing Alaskan Tribes

On January 2, 2020, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) issued a proposed rule to create a new 25 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 82 that would establish procedures for a non-federally recognized Alaska Native entity to be acknowledged as an Indian tribe by the federal government. This regulation is the first to establish a process for Alaska Native entities to be federally recognized as a tribe since the Alaska Amendment of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was enacted in 1936. . . . Read More

The Implications of SBA’s Proposed Rule Changes for Tribally Owned 8(a) Businesses

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently published a proposed rule that would merge its mentor-protégé programs and amend many of its rules governing the 8(a) program. Our Firm’s Managing Partner, Pamela Mazza , recently explained the rule’s significant implications for the government contracting community. In particular, SBA’s proposed rule would make a number of changes to the 8(a) program and regulations applicable to tribally owned 8(a) businesses. Pam and her partner Peter Ford will be attending a tribal consultation meeting in Oklahoma City on January 16, . . . Read More

Key Ruling on Native American Sovereign Immunity Stands—for Now

The Fourth Circuit case Williams v. Big Picture Loans [1]  is being hailed as a major victory for Native American sovereign immunity rights. For entities owned by Native American tribes, the case stands as an important ruling for determining arm-of-the-tribe sovereign immunity. The case may be appealed to the Supreme Court. Background The Lac Vieux Desert Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (the Tribe) formed two business entities under tribal law: Big Picture Loans, LLC, to serve as an independent lending entity . . . Read More