How Tribes and Oregon Resolved the Mascot Issue

February 3, 2016

In this opinion piece from The Oregonian, a tribal chairman explains how a government-to-government agreement between nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon and the state, allows tribes there to work with school districts on culturally appropriate imagery and curriculum.

Microsoft Can’t Replace You

February 1, 2016

No matter what Microsoft invents it will never replace you — the executive administrative assistant. You are an asset to your boss, your organization and your community. Find out how you can expand that role by watching this interview with Melba Duncan, author of The New Executive Assistant, and then attend TriSec 23, April 19-21, in Las Vegas. TriSec is Indian Country’s first, largest and best professional development event for administrative assistants. Click here to find out more.

Blackfeet Want County to Provide Satellite Voting Office for Remote Community

January 28, 2016

Blackfeet tribal officials want Pondera County officials to provide a satellite voting office in the remote reservation community of Heart Butte.

The request is the latest development in an ongoing voting rights case stretching back to 2012, when plaintiffs from the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap reservations sued the Montana Secretary of State and county election offices, arguing that Native Americans living on the reservations faced voter discrimination because of the long distances they are forced to travel to register to vote or to submit absentee ballots. .
This, coupled with acute poverty and the frequent lack of access to reliable transportation, effectively limits Native Americans’ ability to vote, the suit charges. Read more here

Supreme Court Rules Against Menominee in Contract Support Case

January 27, 2016

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Menominee Tribe was too late in presenting its contract support claims to the IHS in accordance with the Contract Disputes Act of 1978. The CDA requires contractors to present each claim to a contracting officer for decision within a 6-year limitations period.

The Tribe challenged the denials in Federal District Court, arguing that the limitations period should be tolled for the nearly two years in which a class action, brought by tribes with parallel complaints, was pending. The District Court eventually denied the Tribe’s equitable-tolling claim, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that no extraordinary circumstances beyond the Tribe’s control caused the delay. The Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts’ rulings and rejected the tribe’s argument that the special relationship with Indian tribes inherent in Indian Self-Determination contracts should override the statutory provisions of the Contract Disputes Act.

The implication of this case and others will be covered in our Indian Country Indirect Cost Summit, March 24-25, in Phoenix.

Join us for this informative and important annual event. The only one of its kind in Indian Country.

US FWS Revises Consultation Policy

January 27, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced revisions to its tribal consultation policy. The revised policy guides broader, more open and collaborative dialogue and working relations between the Service and federally recognized tribes and Native Alaskans. It puts stronger emphasis on co-management and collaborative management of natural and cultural resources; places added emphasis on implementation and accountability; promotes building tribal capacity, the use of tribal knowledge in the Service’s decision-making, and greater Service and tribal training and education; and enhances collaborative Service-tribal law enforcement efforts where possible. The policy can be found at

Tribal Members Sue North Dakota Over Voter ID Law

January 21, 2016

Members of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe are suing the state of North Dakota over its voter ID law, which they say places burdensome restrictions on their right to vote. Below is a link to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court. A copy of the complaint can be found at

Treasury to Hold Conference Call on ACA

November 18, 2015

Attention Tribal Leaders:

The Department of the Treasury will hold a conference call on Tuesday, December 1 at 2:00 p.m. EST to engage tribal leaders and their representatives in government-to-government consultation on the employer shared responsibility mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The discussion will focus on the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions to tribal employers.

Conference Call Information

Date: 12/01/15

Time: 2:00 p.m. EST

Conference Call:
(888) 603-7091
x 2205272

This call is for tribal consultation. It is off the record and not for press purposes.

Ranching, Roping, Rodeo

September 21, 2015


By Lee Allen

Rodeo — to the cowboys and cowgirls who compete, it’s more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle, and participants don’t compete at rodeo as much as they live it.

The sport of rodeo evolved out of the working practices of cattle herding and even the word itself is taken directly from the Spanish rodeo, translated to mean “round up” as in the vaqueros job of gathering cattle for pasture or corral. In Indian Country, skills learned in ranching and roping axiomatically lead to rodeoing.

“Most Indian kids grew up riding horses,” says bareback rider Buck Lunak, a 2014 INFR world champion. “We’ve always been great horsemen who grew up with a cowboy way of life.” Another champion Native cowboy and one of the original founders of Indian National Finals Rodeo, Pete “Charging Eagle” Fredericks (Mandan/Hidatsa/Akira) grew up on a North Dakota Indian reservation ranch. “I’ve spent my life around horses and rodeos,” he says.

“It’s just something we do,” says Carole Jackson-Holyan, many-time world champion ladies barrel racer and the only female INFR commissioner. “Animals are a part of the lifestyle growing up in a native culture, and on the Navajo Nation, rodeo is huge — a way of life for a lot of people. My dad competed in rodeo and because it was something he did, it was something we did.”

Professional rodeo is truly an American sport that has evolved from the skills required in work situations. When you grow up surrounded by sheep, cattle, and horses, it’s pretty much a guarantee that ranching will lead to rodeo whose appeal continues to spread and grow in popularity and prize money. Most participants will acknowledge: “If you grow up Native, it’s a part of life.”

That’s why, nearly 40 years ago, several regional Indian Rodeo Associations from the United States and Canada united to form INFR where Native American cowboys and cowgirls could compete against each other in pro rodeo fashion. The INFR Mission Statement reads: “To provide, promote, and preserve the advancement of professional Indian rodeo through positive role modeling, educational opportunities, competition, culture, and tradition.”

An ambitious undertaking, but a successful one with over 100 sanctioned rodeos nationwide that offer annual payouts well in excess of a million dollars. INFR is now the largest American Indian rodeo association in the world.

Payouts, participation, and attendance at the annual finals [this year, November 3-7 in Las Vegas] continue to grow. And as more and more fans continue to fill arena seats to enjoy one of the most popular sports in the world, more companies, tribes, and individuals are offering their support to advance the cause. A filled-up arena is one indication of the attractiveness of the sport as are sponsor banners around the contest floor — another visible show of solidarity by those who believe in Indian Country rodeo and cough up cash for the cause.

The Classic Rope Division of Equibrand Products, providers of team roping lariat supplies, is one such sponsor, a long-time proponent of the sport as well as a sponsor of the Junior Looper Roping championships for kids that take place during INFR arena events.

“From the start, we wanted to do more than just write a check. Beyond the dollars, we wanted to make a lasting difference in helping Indian rodeo grow, especially as a part of a kids future,” says Billie Bray. “We wanted our support to have a long-term impact as sponsors of the Junior Looper Rodeo, making endorsements of several key cowboys, and as a provider of all the saddles and buckles in the winner’s circle.”

Tips and Tricks from the Society of
Tribal Administrative Professionals:
What is your professional brand?

July 7, 2015


Whether you know it or not, you already have a brand. Your brand is the authentic, real you. It is the essence of your unique story. Another way to think about your brand is the sum total of everyone’s perception about what it’s like to work with you. It is the way other’s feel about you. It’s the way people describe you to others. Maybe you don’t like your brand and you want to change it. Or maybe you do like your brand and you want to strengthen it. There are steps you can take to do both.

Steps to changing or strengthening your brand:

  • Write something. Start a blog, write a book or a how-to manual.
  • Share something. What do you know? Share information or research you’ve done.
  • Organize something. Volunteer to organize an event, a committee or a conference.
  • Develop or design something. Does your office need a new process or a new program. Volunteer to create it.
  • Teach something. Share your expertise by teaching co-workers, even supervisors, a skill you have or a better method for doing tasks.

To find out more about developing your professional brand and more, attend our Professional Excellence I class in Las Vegas, July 27-29. We’ve completely revamped this class, one our most popular, to address the challenges of the ever-changing tribal workplace and the career goals of the tribal administrative professional.

Tribal Recognition Process Updated

June 29, 2015

A final rule issued by the Obama administration, will make it easier for some Indian tribes to obtain federal recognition. The new rule updates a 37-year-old process that has required tribes to produce mounds of paperwork and wait years for a response.

Kevin Washburn, an assistant secretary at the Department of Interior, is expected to announce the regulation today during a National Congress of American Indians conference in Minnesota.

Washburn told The Associated Press that the regulatory changes will greatly enhance transparency by letting the public see most of the documents submitted by the petitioning groups via the Internet. The changes will also give tribal groups facing rejection the chance to take their case to an administrative judge before a final determination is made.

Indian groups seeking recognition will no longer have to show that outside parties identified them as an Indian entity dating back to 1900. Some federally recognized tribes had urged that the requirement be kept. Petitioners will also have to show that their tribe has existed as a community and exercised political control over its members since 1900. Originally the threshold was first contact with European settlers, or as early as 1789. The proposed regulation had changed the threshold to 1934. After much pushback, the final rule sets the date at 1900. Under the current system, which began in 1978, the government has recognized 17 tribes and rejected the petitions of 34 other groups.

The Obama administration had originally envisioned giving groups who were denied federal recognition another opportunity to re-petition the government. That provision wasn’t included in the final rule.

« Older Entries


Follow Us

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn