1972 –Indian Education Act - This legislation established funding for special bilingual and bicultural programs, culturally relevant teaching materials, proper training and hiring of counselors, and establishment of an Office of Indian Education in the U.S. Department of Education. Most importantly, the act required participation of Native Americans in the planning of all relevant educational projects (Cohen 1982; O’Brien 1989).
1975 – Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (Self-Determination: Contracting and Compacting) - This act authorizes federal agencies to contract with and make grants directly to Indian tribal governments for federal services, much like it does with state and local governments. This act is often referred to in Indian Country as “638” legislation, because it was passed as Public Law 93-638. Through grants and contracts, the act as amended, encourages tribes to assume responsibilities for federally funded Indian programs formerly administered by employees in the Departments of Education, Interior, and Health and Human Services. Tribes decide if they wish to participate in a particular program. If they do, then funds and management decisions are subject to tribal control. It means that participating tribal governments can now control their own housing, education, law enforcement, social services, health and community development programs (American Indian Lawyer Training Program 1988; Cohen 1982; Kelly 1988; O’Brien 1989).