Frequently Asked Questions

What is Self Governance?

Self-Governance operates under the guidance of Public Law 93-638, the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) passed in 1975 and has been amended several times.

The purpose of the self-governance law is to provide the Tribal governments with control and decision-making authority over the Federal financial resources provided for the benefit of Tribal members. Self-governance provides an opportunity for Indian tribes to redesign programs, establish priorities to fit the tribal priorities and needs and to manage its own affairs for the betterment of the Osage people.

What are the Goals of Self Governance?

    • Formalize U.S. & Tribal relations on a Government-to- Government basis
    • Promote social, economic, political, and cultural stability and self-sufficiency
    • Establish better fiscal accountability through expanded Tribal decision making
    • Change U.S. role from day-to-day management to advocates of Tribal interests
    • One of the primary objectives of self-governance is to provide the maximum flexibility to Tribal governments to design programs, services, functions and activities (PFSAs) to address Tribal Priorities

How is the Self-Governance program funded?

The Self-Governance programs are funded annually by the U.S. Congress by appropriation or by Continuing Resolution (C.R.) which funds programs at the previous year’s level and only for the timeframe designated by the Resolution.

What are the requirements for a tribe to become a Self-Governance program?

  • Complete a Planning Phase to the satisfaction of the Tribe;
  • Request participation in the Tribal Self-Governance Program;
  • Demonstrate Three Years of Financial Stability and Financial Management Capability

What is process for a tribe to receive self –governance funds?

  • The process of assuming tribal shares and budgets from either the BIA or I H S is a long and involved process of requesting information which is analyzed to determine the benefits and advantages of the Nation operating the program versus the current status quo with the agency.
  • After deciding to assume a program from the BIA or I H S , formal negotiations take place which determine what programs, functions, services and activities are eligible to be compacted or contracted as tribal shares, and what functions are considered Inherent Federal Functions ( IFF’s) that only the federal government can perform.
  • When a tribe does assume tribal shares and funds, the federal agency still has a trust responsibility to the tribe. Self-Governance Law, PL 93-638 as amended, Section 406 (b) states" Nothing in this Act shall be construed to diminish the Federal trust responsibility y to Indian tribes, individual Indians or Indians with trust allotment." This means that the Federal oversight and responsibility will continue under the compact or Multi-Year Funding Agreement.

What is the difference between a contract and compact agreement?


  • formalizes the relationship between the U.S. Government and the Tribe as a government to government agreement
  • Has no term or ending date
  • Allows the tribe to compact for funds and services from other agencies and bureaus under the Department of Interior.


  • An agreement between the U.S. Government and the Tribe called a Multi-Year Funding Agreement (MYFA)
  • for a specific period of time, usually for 3-5 years,
  • Is re-negotiated at the end of the term

What is a tribal share?

  • An Indian tribe’s portion of all funds and resources that support secretarial programs, services, functions, and activities (or portions thereof) that are not required by the Secretary for performance of inherent Federal functions.

What is an Inherent Federal Function (IFF)?

  • Those programs, service, functions, activities or portions thereof, a federal official as determined by treaty, legislation, executive order, or other legal instrument must carry out