Publishing the Native American Government Policies

President Clinton made many attempts to improve the quality of life for Native Americans. Clinton accomplished a few firsts in the history of American Indian relations. He invested in education, health care, youth mental health, equal opportunity, economics and more. Clinton respected the Native American people, he wanted them to have as many opportunities as possible. Clinton wanted the Native Americans to flourish by providing them with multiple financial contributions and policies. Clinton desired to improve the economic stability of the Native American people; he did so by providing the option of programs that provide temporary financial assistance and established empowerment and enterprise zones for high distress areas.

These communities brought stability and a better economy.

Clinton provided housing assistance to support the development of affordable housing for Native Americans. In addition, an executive order was made to organize regular consultation with Native American governments. This order is valuable as it gives the tribes a voice and a direct communication line with the American government.

Clinton wanted the tribes to be heard, to consult them and include them in decisions that related to their well-being, something that was lost for them earlier in history. Investments were also made for child health care coverage to ensure that Native Americans receive the health treatment they need, Clinton funded health services to improve the quality of care and to provide patient care for low-income.

In addition to economic and health support, there were also large investments in education that supported the repairs of unsafe schools, improvement of academic achievement, recruitment of teachers, and connection to the internet.

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Clinton contributed greatly to addressing many of the outstanding issues within the education system for Native Americans. To address crime within Native American communities, President Clinton provided assistance to support law enforcement for the tribes as well as detention facilities, officers, crime prevention programs, etc. I feel that President Clinton’s policies were a very positive contribution to the Native American community, based on his accomplishments he covered all the bases to support the tribes. Clinton was very thorough in his efforts to improve the lives of Native Americans by providing a solid education, stimulating economies, and respecting their tribal governments—as he said himself, this is what they deserve.


Bill Clinton served as United States president from 1993 to 2001 as a part of the Democratic Party. I will be analyzing president Clinton’s American Indians policies, as well as his relations and communication efforts with the American Indians. My sources will range from articles to simple lists of accomplishments, and opinions of Native Americans in response to the policies he enacted.


President Clinton worked alongside his Vice President Gore and his administration to establish many policies and movements towards supporting the Native American tribes. In 1996, the Welfare Reform Law was established to provide an option of a program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This reform law allowed the tribes to have some control over the design of this program depending on their own needs. This freedom is important as tribes understand their own issues better than the state. This law had a budget of 3 billion dollars of welfare-to-work grants which allowed many low income fathers to get jobs. An additional 30 million dollars was set aside as tax credits for employers to hire individuals. The welfare reform gave an incentive to work towards payroll. According to the Klamath Tribes, TANF brought stability.

Yet, a tribal official was afraid that TANF would not alleviate the source of the issue, but rather the symptoms. Tribal TANF staff felt differently, explaining that it was not meant to alleviate the root issue but mainly for the switch from welfare to work. Some individuals from the Siletz Tribe felt that the three-month transition period was too short to move towards the new system. Overall, the Siletz tribe thought that having control over this program was beneficial because they know their own people better than anyone else, they saw it as a way to obtain skills and move towards work with resources more readily accessible. Also in 1996, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) was created, providing block grants to support the development of affordable housing and made it easier to apply for federal housing funds.

Prior to this act, 28% of Native Americans were inhabiting homes which lacked essential plumbing or kitchens, and 40% of people were living in inadequate conditions. NAHASDA was able to alleviate some of these issues, bringing the numbers down to 5% without plumbing or kitchens and 8% of housing units overcrowded. Over 100,000 homes were built or renovated with the block grants. In 1999, Clinton kick-started a new initiative, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program which he intended to enroll millions of uninsured children and give access to health care for Native American children who cannot afford it. Through this initiative, Clinton also pushed for educational public service announcements through the Indian Health Service. Due to the higher rates of diabetes among Native Americans, President Clinton was able to get 30 million dollars to fuel the Indian Health Service and advance research, treatment, and prevention of diabetes.

Aside from the policies and funding provided by President Clinton, he also made efforts to communicate with Native American people. Clinton visited the Pine Ridge Reservation to boost economic development in the Indian Country which was the poorest place in the U.S. A year earlier, in 1998, President Clinton held the first White House Conference in Indian Country to plan other economic development initiatives. In 1994, Clinton was the first president to invite all leaders of all federally recognized tribes to the White House, where he vowed to cooperate with the tribal leaders and have a government partnership. Clinton made it a priority to collaborate with the Native American leaders and he found it important to respect their opinions and voices through his actions.

For what President Clinton has done, the Native American people welcomed him at the 1994 meeting with a traditional ceremony, tribal drums, burning of sweet grass, and eagle feathers. During the same meeting, Gaiashkibos, the president of the National Congress of American Indians said “send a message to our people that a new day has begun”, he recognized Clinton’s relationship with his people. Gaiashkibos continued by describing what an honor it was to be working with Clinton’s administration and the importance it was to build a foundation of their relationship. Elvin Windyboy spoke and translated for the homeless on the reservations, stating that trust would be renewed and promises honored. They praised Clinton for appointing Native Americans to his administration, Ada Deer and Michael Trujillo.


Although Native Americans have lost more than can be recovered through policy and new relationships, Clinton did an exceptional job of improving what he could. Clinton implemented policies that stimulated the economy in the Indian Country, he provided housing assistance to better the living conditions on reservations, he sought equal opportunity for the Native American people by establishing a relationship with tribal leaders, he gave the tribes a voice. In addition, Clinton supported the health care and health services for Native Americans, insured many children living in poverty and brought light to health education. One of the most important aspects in the eyes of many American Indians was Clinton’s contributions to improving the education system through reparation of school buildings, recruitment of teachers, and connection to the internet.

While there was some uncertainty surrounding some of these implementations, Clinton came in with the desire to support the native people of our country and did as much as he could during his terms as president. I think that Clinton’s policies were overall good and did a lot to improve the quality of life for American Indians. However, many of Clinton’s contributions were rather temporary and I do believe that it is time for new policies to support the tribes in light of today’s current issues. I feel that Clinton was successful in establishing a strong relationship with the Native Americans, and I do believe that his efforts positively impacted them in various ways. Clinton did his best to address issues in different areas and I feel that this is one of the most successful traits about these policies. I hope that future presidents look after Clinton’s actions and strive to dive deeper in addressing more root issues.

Works Cited

  1. The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA): Background and Funding. 3 Nov. 2015,
  2. Jehl, Douglas. “Clinton Meets Indians, Citing a New Respect.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Apr. 1994,
  4. “Native American Issues.”, 29 Apr. 1994,
  5. “PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Working on Behalf of Native Americans.” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration,

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Publishing the Native American Government Policies. (2022, Feb 08). Retrieved from

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