Within the past four decades, Tribal governments have made tremendous strides in identifying and protecting the rights, resources and opportunities of their people. Tribes are effectively exercising self-governance to protect their water, timber, hunting, fishing and gaming rights in order to garner maximum economic returns and opportunities from the use of their resources.

This type of advocacy is being brought to the protection and assertion of Indian and Native Employment and contracting rights by approximately 300 Tribal and Alaska Native village governments that have established Tribal Employment Rights Ordinances and TERO enforcement programs.

Tribal/Native governments have the authority to enact the strongest employment and contracting laws in the nation. Whether employers are mining tribal resources, building federally funded or federally funded or federally assisted roads, houses, dams, clinics, schools, etc., or operating casinos, factories, or other businesses (tribal or private), a tribal government can use its sovereign powers to require maximum employment of Indian people.

Indian Tribes have the sovereign authority to regulate and control the employment practices of all employers conducting business on their reservations. This power enables Tribal Governments to require that all contractors operating within their jurisdiction to provide Indian preference in employment, contracting and subcontracting.

TEROs require that all employers who are engaged in operating a business on reservations give preference to qualified Indians in all aspects of employment, contracting, and other business activities. TERO Offices were established and empowered to monitor and enforce the requirements of the tribal employment rights ordinance. The primary purpose of the TERO program is to enforce tribally enacted Indian Preference law to insure that Indian/Alaska Native people gain their rightful share to employment, training, contracting, subcontracting, and business opportunities on and near reservations and native villages.

When seeking to work with Tribal governments, contractors and employers need to have the knowledge of how each individual Tribe exercises this authority. It is important to understand that each Tribe is an independent government, therefore rules and regulations will vary. In addition, not every Tribe choses to use TERO codes. However, in those cases, Indian preferences laws may still apply.

We encourage you to contact the individual Tribe you want to work with for specific information you will need to know. For more general information contact:

Council for Tribal Employment Rights