January 06, 2007

Ford's pro-Indian actions

Ford's presidency found room for Indian countryAs the tributes gathered around the reputation of President Gerald R. Ford following his death on Dec. 26, Indian country did not forget that his signature is on the most important Native-specific legislation of modern times.

The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976, taken together, made tribes more nearly the masters of their own programs than any federal action ever had since the advent of the reservation era. The enactment, upon Ford's signature, of the act as Public Law 93-638 authorized the federal government to sign the well-known "638 contracts" with tribes, permitting them to manage their own programs with federal funds. Previously, federal agencies had managed Indian-specific programs, delaying the day when tribes would implement their own solutions, expand the skills and capacities of their own members, reinvest federal funding into their own local economies and develop their own equivalent of a civil service.

No comments: