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Press Release

Advancing Improvements to Tribal Self-Determination Through the 477 Program

  • IP Subcommittee

Today, the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs held an oversight hearing on tribal self-determination through the 477 program. Subcommittee Chair Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) issued the following statement in response:

"It is important for our committee to focus on tribal autonomy and the ways Congress can support tribal self-determination. The 477 program is one of the key components of achieving that autonomy and it is important that we continue to have a thorough and thoughtful discussion on how to expand the aspects of the program that work and how to fix the aspects that don’t."


In 1992, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act enabled tribes to coordinate and integrate multiple federal programs focused on employment and related support services into one tribal program, with one budget and one annual report. Known collectively as the 477 programs, these tribal plans reduce administrative burdens and costs by letting tribes manage one program that provides multiple services to tribal members and by streamlining reporting requirements for tribes. Instead of submitting reports to multiple agencies, tribes are able to submit a single report each year. This allows them to focus on providing tailored services instead of spending limited time and resources on reporting efforts.

In 2017, an amendment to the 477 program expanded the number of covered agencies to 12 secretarial departments and cemented the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) as the lead agency. A Memorandum of Agreement between all 12 secretarial departments was finalized in 2022. Despite improvements, continued oversight of the 477 program is needed. Tribes have reported other agencies challenging BIA determinations and a lack of timeliness for distributing funds. The Department of Labor has also failed to publish a required biennial Native American workforce report assigned to the Department in the 2017 amendments to the 477 program. In today’s hearing, committee members discussed these issues and questioned witnesses about opportunities for the 477 program to grow and improve, and what changes are necessary to increase the program’s ability to support tribal self-determination.

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