Legal Authority

Native American preference rights comes from two major sources.

  1. Tribal Inherent Sovereign Power: As sovereigns, tribal and native governments have the legal authority to control the employment practices of all employers operating within the boundaries of their reservations or on Tribal projects off the reservation by enacting and enforcing the strongest Native American employment/contracting preference laws in the nation. Tribal governments can use sovereignty to require the maximum employment of Native Americans by all reservation employers.
  2. Federal Statutes and Contract Law: The United States Congress has adopted laws that give Native Americans the right to claim a fair share of jobs and business opportunities on their reservations. In addition, there are several Federal laws that impose mandatory Native American preference in all aspects of employment and contracting on federally funded contracts or grants that were awarded for the benefit of Native Americans. Federal law also permits employers operating their business on or near reservations to voluntarily adopt Native American preference hiring policies.