There are over 570 federally-recognized tribes in the United States.[3363] Since the late 1980s the federal government has promoted self-determination and self-governance by tribes. In 1975, the U.S. passed the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (ISDEAA), which allowed the federal government to contract with tribes for services.[3364] The goal of the ISDEAA is to “further[] the self-determination of Indian communities without terminating the special relationships between the Federal Government and the Indian people.”[3365] Federally-recognized tribes now operate many of their own programs for their members, such as schools and health care systems. Because of this, as described below, there are special benefits and regulations related to returning to a tribal community, which are specific to your tribe.

Note that this Chapter is new to Root & Rebound’s Roadmap to Reentry and was written in collaboration with the Yurok Tribe’s Wellness Court. There is still limited literature on tribal reentry and not all tribes’ specific procedures for the action steps described below are widely available, so some of the information below is based solely on anecdotal evidence and experience from the Yurok Tribe’s Wellness Court. Please be sure to check with your specific Tribe regarding its rules and regulations.

  1. 3363

    U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs, Frequently Asked Questions,

  2. 3364

    25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.

  3. 3365

    American Presidency Project, Gerald Ford Statement on Signing the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, Jan. 4 1975,