HENSLEY-QUINN AND SHAWN 2006 Program Manager for the National Academy for State Health Policy AND Assistant Director of Technical Assistance Programs at Community Transportation Association of America (Maureen and Kelly, “American Indian Transportation: Issues and Successful Models”, Fall, National Transit Resource Center InfoBrief No. 28, http://www.ctaa.org/webmodules/webarticles/articlefiles/American_Indian_RTAP_Brief.pdf SW)
Tribal rights of self-government are recognizedand protected bythe US Constitution, legislation, treaties, judicial decisions and administrative practice. Currently, the US government officially recognizes 563 tribes as sovereign nations. Federal recognition means that tribes can use federal funds for transportation; without that recognition, states may choose to contract with tribes for transportation, but they are not obligated to do so. Federal transportation funds are allocated to the states based on population, which includes American Indians. The quality and effectiveness of tribal/state relationships vary widely. Due to tribes’ sovereign nation status, relationships with the states can be complicated. Some tribes have solid working relationships with their states, while others have little or no dialogue with state officials. In order to provide an effective transportation service for tribeswithout compromising their sovereign nation status, the tribal/state relationship must be worked through on a case-by-case basis.