Limited Services Provided by Indian Affairs During Government Shutdown

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

With the government shutdown now in its second day and around 800,000 non-essential government workers being furloughed, some offices working directly with Indian country will have limited services.

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The Department of the Interior – Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) will provide limited services to tribes, students and individuals during the shutdown of the federal government. Of the total 8,143 employees, a total of 2,860 will be furloughed.

The BIA that provides direct services to 566 federally recognized tribes that include contracts, grants and compacts will continue functions that are necessary to protect life and property. These services include law enforcement and operations of detention centers; social services to protect children and adults; irrigation and power – delivery of water and power; firefighting and response to emergency situations according to a BIA press release.

As for the BIE, school operations are forwarded funded meaning operations should carry on as normal during the shutdown. BIE funded schools will remain open and staffed; transportation and maintenance of schools will continue. Other schools that will remain open are tribally-contracted schools that are also forward funded. Education services are provided by BIE to approximately 41,000 Native students through 183 schools and dormitories and providing funding 31 colleges, universities and post-secondary school according to the release.

Additional information on Indian Affairs’ contingency plan for operations during the government shutdown can be found at: