United States Commission on Civil Rights

Confidential Draft Report
“Enforcement of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968”

May 1990


Indian Civil Rights, page 41
compliance with the Indian Civil Rights Act unless compelled to do so.  We recommend that the problem be addressed at the outset by insisting on specific language in the contract rather than waiting until individual Indians seek to hold us accountable for the foreseeable actions of the tribal court.
     If the tribe agrees to the conditions recommended by our field office, the Department will be in a stronger legal position to insist that the tribal court be operated in compliance with the Indian Civil Rights Act and to persuade a federal court that we are exercising our authority under 25 U.S.C. § 450m in a responsible manner.  Conversely, if the Department declines to contract with the tribe because it refuses to agree to comply with the Act, the tribe will be in a weak legal position should it attempt to persuade a federal court to order us to contract with the tribe without explicit civil rights safeguards in the contract.  By taking a firm position in this instance where a serious civil rights problem clearly exists, we can substantially reduce the risk that federal courts will force us to become routinely involved in internal tribal disputes. [87]

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[87]  U.S. Department of the Interior Memorandum From C. Hughes, Acting Associate Solicitor, Division of Indian Affairs, to Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs (Nov. 13, 1987), reprinted in Portland Hearing, supra note 25, at 119-122.

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