The relationship between tribal nations and the federal government is unique and founded on mutual promises. The obligations to tribes and their citizens funded in the federal budget reflect the trust responsibility. This solemn commitment is the result of treaties negotiated and agreements made between Indian tribes and the United States in exchange for land and resources.
The trust responsibility commits the federal government to the protection of Indian lands; protection of tribal self-governance; and, provision of social, medical, and educational services for tribal citizens. The authority to fund programs that fulfill this responsibility is founded in the Constitution.
However, federal funding that supports Indian initiatives in every relevant program area—from education and public safety to infrastructure and health care—lags behind the average for the rest of the United States. This trend was documented in the 2003 US Civil Rights Commission report, A Quiet Crisis. This means that tribes lack the same resources available to other governments to provide for the public safety and welfare of their citizens.
NCAI has continuously worked to unify tribal leaders, organizations, and advocates to ensure that promises made to Indian Country are honored throughout the federal budget. Each year, NCAI compiles recommendations from tribal leaders, tribal issue organizations, regional intertribal groups, and advocates into an Indian Country budget request.
Archives of this document, testimony, and appropriations analysis are available in this section of the NCAI Web site.
Tribal leaders have identified necessary federal funding for tribal government services, infrastructure, natural resources, health care, and education as critical to the honorable fulfillment of the trust relationship with tribes. Especially in challenging economic times, tribes should receive at least the same level of resources that are provided to other governments to meet the needs of their citizens.
United States Of America, Petitioner V. Joshua James Cooley, Respondent
Jul 24, 2020
NCAI Analysis of the FY 2018 President's Budget
May 24, 2017
NCAI FY 2017 Indian Country Budget Request
Jan 20, 2016
FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations
Dec 16, 2015
Testimony & Speeches
NCAI President Fawn Sharp Testimony for U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States Oversight Hearing on Reviewing the Broken Promises Report: Examining the Chronic Federal Funding Shortfalls in Ind
Nov 19, 2019
NCAI President Jefferson Keel Testimony for U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Oversight Hearing on the President’s FY2020 Budget Request for Indian Programs
May 08, 2019
Impact of the Partial Government Shutdown on Indian Country
Jan 15, 2019
A Call to Congress to Support FY 2020 Indian Health Service Funding
May 31, 2019
Support for Advance Appropriations for Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service
Feb 12, 2019
Calling for Full Funding of the Federal Trust Responsibility and Ensuring the United States has the Revenue to Finance Federal Commitments in Tax Legislation
Oct 20, 2017
President’s FY 2020 Budget Released
Mar 13, 2019
National Native Organizations Unite and Urge the President and Congress to Re-Open the Government
Jan 10, 2019
Indian Country Budget Week in Washington, DC "Uphold the Federal Trust Responsibility"
Apr 26, 2013