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NCAI often releases policy papers on key topics, legislation, and milestones related to Indian Country. These policy papers are provided to inform tribal leaders, the general public, and members of the media about these aspects of NCAI’s work


Most Recent Policy Papers

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2017 Mid Year Policy Update

January of 2017 marked the beginning of the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress and the first time both the Congress and the White House have been Republican-controlled in a decade. Presidential transitions always have an impact on policy, not only in the Administration but also in the Congress, as early legislative priorities are often centered on action around the President’s goals for the first 100 days in office. This has been the case as most of the major policy initiatives have centered on priorities put forth by the President during the campaign and in filling key Cabinet positions.

Jun 10, 2017

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NCAI Analysis of the FY 2018 President's Budget

This broadcast provides a preliminary analysis of the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request, highlighting impacts on funding for Indian programs. Appropriations committees have already held hearings on the outline of the proposals. NCAI urges tribal leaders to review the proposals in the President’s budget and voice support for tribal programs with direct communication to the Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee leadership and members in both the House and Senate.

May 24, 2017


NCAI Infrastructure in Indian Country Report

The following initial report presents a data-supported sampling of the nature and gravity of the unmet infrastructure needs that Indian Country currently faces, and the vast economic promise that Tribal Nations can unlock when properly resourced and properly equipped with the right instruments for self-determined, effective action. It is intended to serve as foundational context for the emerging dialogue between Tribal Nations and the new Administration and Congress about how best to revitalize and empower the infrastructure of Indian Country and the nation as a whole, and the seminal role that Tribal Nations can and should play as primary decision-making partners in this process.

Apr 06, 2017

ICWA Lexi Case Update

Last Friday, a California Court of Appeals affirmed, upon its third review, a lower Court’s decision to place an American Indian child named Lexi, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, with her extended family in Utah. The court’s decision is an affirmation of the fundamental principles of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), that the preference for placement with family members is strong and is in the best interests of children, and that good cause to deviate from those preferences should be found only in unusual cases, not through application of a generalized “best interest” standard.

Jul 12, 2016

2016 Mid Year Policy Update

This "Policy Update" was released at NCAI's 2016 Mid Year Conference in Spokane, Washington.

Jun 30, 2016

NCAI FY 2017 Indian Country Budget Request

This NCAI FY 2017 Indian Country Budget Request developed in coordination with national tribal organizations and tribal partners offers recommendations for ways the federal government should meet its trust responsibility to Indian Country.

Jan 20, 2016

Analysis of Cities and Towns inside Reservations

This analysis includes the overall population, both Indian and non-Indian, living in towns/cities inside reservations, as well as square mileage. According to the Census data in these analyses, there are hundreds of towns and cities within the boundaries of reservations that are predominantly populated by non-Indians.

Dec 18, 2015

FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations

The House and Senate Appropriations committees filed a $1.15 trillion FY2016 omnibus spending bill early Wednesday morning. The bill (HR 2029, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016) rolls all twelve of the regular spending bills into one, providing updated funding and guidance to federal agencies through Sept. 30, 2016. The Interior-Environment bill funds the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Indian Health Service (IHS), among other tribal programs. The Labor-Health and Human Services bill funds SAMHSA, Administration for Children and Families, and Department of Education. The links to explanatory statements for relevant divisions of the bill are below.

Dec 16, 2015

2015 Mid Year Policy Update

This "Policy Update" was released at NCAI's 2015 Mid Year Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jun 24, 2015

2015 Executive Council Winter Session Policy Update

Released in conjunction with NCAI’s 2015 Executive Council Winter Session, the “Policy Update” provides an overview, legislative updates, and administrative updates for a range of areas including: land and natural resources; economic/community development; public safety; human resources/social services; tribal governance; infrastructure; appropriations; international issues; and White House initiatives.

Feb 19, 2015

FY 2016 Indian Country Budget Requests: Promoting Self-Determination, Modernizing the Trust Relationship

This NCAI FY 2016 Budget Request offers recommendations for ways the federal government, partnering with tribes, should meet the educational needs of Indian youth; provide adequate health care via the Indian Health Service, for both direct and self-governance tribes; ensure responsible resource development for the future; provide safe and secure tribal communities; and supply the long-term investments in tribal public infrastructure and services required to ensure every American Indian and Alaska Native enjoys a decent quality of life and has an opportunity to succeed.

Jan 22, 2015


Tribal Nations and the United States: An Introduction

The guide "Tribal Nations and the United States: An Introduction" developed by the National Congress of American Indians seeks to provide a basic overview of the history and underlying principles of tribal governance. The guide also provides introductory information about tribal governments and American Indian and Alaska Native people today.

Jan 15, 2015