January 17, 2017

Tribal leaders address congressional committee on importance of Self-Governance

Gregory E. Pyle, Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, offers testimony in favor of passing HR 4347. Marcus D. Levings, right, chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota, also testified. PHOTO COURTESY CHOCTAW NATIONWASHINGTON – Choctaw Chief Gregory E. Pyle was invited recently to testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources on legislation dealing with Tribal Self-Governance.

His testimony requested that Congress pass HR 4347, which would create consistency between the Title IV Self-Governance initiative in the Department of Interior and the Title V Self-Governance initiative in the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to Chief Pyle and others who spoke in favor of passing HR 4347, Title IV and Title V have two different sets of administrative requirements.  The legislation, which was introduced by US Congressman Dan Boren (OK-Dist. 2), would minimize some of the existing administrative burdens and advance Self-Governance opportunities within other Interior agencies.
“Self-Governance is about Tribal empowerment, accountability, responsibility and self-sufficiency,” said Chief Pyle.  There are 260 Tribes under Self-Governance today.
“Self-Governance works because it places management responsibility in the hands of those who care most about seeing Tribal programs succeed and services to citizens improved – the Tribal government itself,” said Chief Pyle.
The entire health delivery system of the Choctaw Nation has been managed by the Tribe since 1985 thanks to Self-Governance.  This includes a hospital, eight clinics, two substance abuse in-patient centers and a wide range of preventative programs including nutrition counseling and a diabetes wellness center.