Native American Affairs Program

Public Law 93-638 Program
(Indian Self-Determination and Tribal Self-Governance)

Featured Resources:
Public Law 93-638 Program
Contact Information and Other Resources

In 1975, Congress enacted Public Law 93-638 of 1975, as amended—the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (Act) (25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.) (formerly 25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.).  The Act establishes a contracting framework with federally recognized Indian tribes that assures maximum, effective, and meaningful Tribal participation in the direction, planning, conduct, and administration of contractible programs, functions, services, and activities (PFSAs) within the U.S. Department of the Interior (Department) that serves Tribal communities and members.

Title I of the Act directs the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to contract with tribes, at their request, for PFSAs that serve their members.  PFSAs can be both construction and non-construction.  The Secretary has delegated the responsibility to enter into contracts for Reclamation PFSAs to the Commissioner.  Implementing regulations for contracting under Title I are found at 25 CFR Part 900.  Subject to the availability of appropriations, Reclamation must, at the request of the benefiting tribe(s), enter into Title I contract negotiations for any authorized and funded PFSA that is "for the benefit of Indians because of their status as Indians."

Title IV of the Act directs the Secretary to establish and carry out a program within the Department known as "Tribal Self-Governance."  The primary purpose of Title IV is to reduce Federal bureaucracy and promote Tribal self-governance. Participating Indian tribes choose the extent of their participation in self-governance by providing them with meaningful authority to plan, conduct, redesign, and administer PFSAs that meet the needs of their communities.  The implementing regulations for Title IV are found at 25 CFR Part 1000.

Over the past 5 fiscal years (2016 through 2020), funding obligations for Reclamation's Public Law 93-638 Program have ranged from $110 to $150 million per year.

Last Updated: 12/7/20