The Department of the Interior is finalizing regulations guiding implementation of the Buy Indian Act, which provides the Bureau of Indian Affairs (IA) with authority to set aside procurement contracts for American Indian-owned and controlled businesses and Alaska Native-owned and controlled businesses.
The new rule can be found at 78 Fed. Reg. 34266, dated June 7, 2013.
This rule supplements the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Department of the Interior Acquisition Regulation (DIAR), and the final rule is to be effective July 8, 2013.
The rule benefits a broad range of businesses. It requires the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs to give preference to “Indian economic enterprises” – defined, in part, as any business entity that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more American Indian or Alaska Native individuals, federally recognized American Indian tribes, or Alaska Native villages and regional or village corporations under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. As a result, engaging in a strategic partnership with a minority non-Indian investor will not disqualify an otherwise eligible Indian business.
The rule supplements the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Department of the Interior Acquisition Regulation, and will be located at 48 C.F.R. Sections 1401.301-80, 1452-280 and 1480. It also responds to and incorporates the nuances of Section 831 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991 (Pub. Law 101-510, 10 U.S.C. 2301 note) that amended 25 U.S.C. 47 to allow American Indian firms to participate in the Department of Defense’s Mentor-Protégé Program and yet maintain eligibility for contracts awarded under the authority of the Buy Indian Act.