Litigation Support for Indian Rights

To establish or defend Indian property or treaty rights through judicial, administrative, or settlement actions.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Types of projects funded include studies supporting litigation and negotiation, record searches, and information research activities.

Agency - Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior protects and provides access to the Nation's natural and cultural heritage, including responsibilities to Indian tribes and island communities. Departmental goals include resource protection and usage, overseeing recreational opportunities, serving communities and excellence in management.

Office - Applications may be filed with the local Bureau of Indian Affairs agency office as listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Program Accomplishments

Approximately 30 funding requests are received on an annual basis; between 20 and 25 are funded each year.

Uses and Use Restrictions

This program supports requests from tribes for expert witnesses, research, data collection, technical support, and other evidence-gathering activities required for the United States to defend the government's position in litigation cases involving Indian rights issues such as hunting, fishing and gathering rights issues; trespass; title issues, such as property line disputes; rights- of-way disputes; allotment claims; mineral entry; pollution and other activities which have harmed or could harm the health and safety of the reservation population.

Funds may be used for the payment of Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) settlements or other payments ordered by the Courts, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior Office of the Solicitor.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments and Native American Organizations authorized by these Tribes.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and their members.


Initial application must be accompanied by a resolution of the governing body of the Indian tribe.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Informal preapplication conference is recommended.

Technical assistance in preparing the application is available upon request.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Initial applications must contain the information specified in 25 CFR, Part 900, Subpart C, "Contract Proposal Contents." Completed applications should be submitted to the local BIA agency office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Award Procedures

Awards are approved at the Headquarters level.




Public Law 103-399; Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, Public Law 93-638, as amended, 25 U.S.C. 450; Public Law 97-394, 96 Stat. 1976, 28 U.S.C. 2415; Indian Claims Limitation Act of 1982; Public Law 98-250; Public Law 96-487, 94 Stat. 2371, 16 U.S.C. 3101; Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act; Public Law 92-203, 106 Stat. 2112-2125, 43 U.S.C. 1601; Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; Indian Lands Open Dump Cleanup Act of 1994, 108 Stat. 4164.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Applications will be processed within 90 days.


An unsuccessful applicant may request an informal conference with the deciding official.


Applications must be submitted each year.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Awards are made on an annual basis and the funds remain available until expended by the contractor/grantee for the purposes specified in the application. Payments may be made in advance or by way of reimbursement. The timing of payments will be negotiated with the grantee.

Post Assistance Requirements


Financial status reports, SF 269A, are required.

The timing and nature of program accomplishment data will be negotiated with the contractor/grantee.


For awards made under this Program, grantees/contractors are responsible for obtaining audits. All non-Federal entities that expend $500,000 or more of Federal awards in a year ($300,000 for fiscal year ending on or before December 30, 2003) are required to obtain an annual audit in accordance with the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501 et. seq.) and OMB Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement and Government Auditing Standards. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $500,000 (for fiscal years ending after December 1, 2003) a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in OMB Circular A-133.


Financial records must be retained for three years from the date of submission of the single audit report. Procurement records must be retained for three years from the date of final payment. Property records must be retained for three years from the date of disposition, replacement, or transfer. Records pertaining to any litigation, audit exceptions or claims must be retained until the dispute has been resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $2,324,000; FY 08 est $1,386,000; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$20,000 to $320,000; $75,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Applications may be filed with the local Bureau of Indian Affairs agency office as listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Office of Trust Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1849 C Street N.W., MS-4620 MIB, Washington, DC 20240. Telephone: (202) 208-5831. Robin Forrest.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Selection of proposals is dependent on the type of assistance being requested and the availability of funds. Cases for which assistance is requested must have progressed beyond Tribal courts to local, county, State, or Federal courts.

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