Phoenix Area Office - Programs & Activities

The Native American Affairs Office

FEATURE STORY: Agreement Signed for the care of Central Arizona Project Artifacts

The Reclamation Manual (RM) Directive and Standard NIA 10-01 (Requirements for Execution and Administration of Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (P.L. 93-638) Contracts and Annual Funding Agreements) has been published as a new final release, effective May 22, 2014. It is available on Reclamation's RM internet site:

The Phoenix Area Office's Native American Affairs Office provides a direct point of contact for tribes throughout Arizona to address tribal needs and to ensure consistency in Reclamation/tribal relationships.  The primary missions of the Phoenix Native American Affairs Office are to fulfill the mandates of Reclamation law and policy as they apply specifically to Native Americans and to assist area Indian tribes in their development of water and related infrastructure on their reservations.

Tribes are sovereign nations, much like states are sovereign bodies, maintaining their own laws, regulations and customs. Unlike states, however, the relationship between the Federal government and the tribes is a government-to-government relationship, in which the U.S. maintains a statutory trust responsibility.  In 1975, Congress passed the Indian Self-Determination and Education Act (P.L. 93-638) which empowered the tribes to assume more responsibility and control of their tribal programs and functions. In essence, this means that the tribes, at their discretion, under the terms and conditions of P.L. 93-638, may request and assume responsibility for programs or projects traditionally performed by federal agencies within the Department of Interior and Department of Health and Human Services.  In fact, PXAO was the first non-BIA agency to execute an annual funding agreement under the self governance provisions of P.L. 93-638.

Phoenix Area Office Contact:
Lawrence Marquez
Native American Affairs Office Manager


Specifically, the Phoenix Area Office's Native American Affairs Office (NAAO) has been the focal point for the planning, design and construction of the Indian distribution and delivery systems associated with the Central Arizona Project and implementation of the Southern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act (1982 as amended).

Additionally, using various programs and authorities generally available to all Reclamation customers, the Phoenix Area Office NAAO assists local tribes in developing, rehabilitating or enhancing existing water related infrastructure including, but not limited to, projects such as:

  • Rehabilitation of the Ganado Irrigation System on the Navajo reservation through water conservation and management programs,

  • Stream gauge development on the White Mountain Apache reservation under Native American Technical Assistance programs,

  • Wastewater reuse project in cooperation with the Navajo Nation, the National Park Service, et. al. near the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, and

  • Development of alternative water sources for cattle on the Navajo and Tohono O'Odham Nation reservations in collaboration with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and other emergency domestic supplies for tribes under our drought relief program.

For information on the Bureau of Reclamation's Native American Assistance Programs throughout the Southwest, visit:

Joseph J. Billerbeck -

Last Updated: 4/24/15