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The Buy Indian Act

On January 13, 2022, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Indian Health Service (IHS) published final ruling that responds to longstanding recommendations from Tribes and Tribal organizations for the Agency to enforce Buy Indian Act authority when carrying out Federal procurement activities.

About the Buy Indian Act

Passed into law on June 25, 1910 (25 U.S.C. 47)

  • The Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), to employ Indian labor and to purchase the products of Native-owned and controlled firms without using the normal competitive process
  • The Transfer Act of 1954 authorizes the IHS to use the Buy Indian act to carry out its health care responsibilities (25 U.S.C. 1633)
  • The Act does not apply to contracts awarded under ISDEAA Public Law 93-638 or purchase orders issued for services obtained through the Purchased/Referred Care (PRC) program.

Summary of the HHS Acquisition Regulations: Buy Indian Act; Procedures for Contracting, codified at 48 CFR Parts 326 and 352:

  • Supplements the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR);
  • Formalizes the administrative and acquisition procedures for all IHS acquisition activities and locations to include all Area and Service Units, the National Supply Service Center (NSSC) and the Division of Engineering Services (DES);
  • Alleviates unnecessary regulatory burden on Indian Economic Enterprises;
  • Expands application of the Buy Indian Act to all construction;
  • Better adheres to the language of the Buy Indian Act;
  • Strengthens oversight of the Buy Indian Act to reduce the potential for fraud and abuse;
  • Clarifies the preference for Indian Economic Enterprises;
  • Support economic sustainability and development in Indian Country; and
  • Creates jobs in rural native communities and urban native settings which helps address high unemployment and joblessness rates in these areas.

Native American Businesses in Dashboard

The dashboard includes summary information for all active vendors that have self-represented as an active Native American. This data is retrieved directly from, where an entity (prime contractor, organization or individual) can register with the U.S. federal government in order to bid on government contracts and apply for federal grants and loans. IHS use of this dashboard will allow for a place to begin market research to search for Indian Economic Enterprises (IEE), Indian Small Business Economic Enterprises (ISBEE) and other socio-economic status businesses.

Other Resources:

Federal Register Publication: Buy Indian Act; Procedures for Contracting Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 
Dear Tribal Leaders Letter – Buy Indian Act Final Rule [PDF - 241 KB]
HHS Acquisition Regulations (HHSAR) Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 
IHS IEE Representation Form [PDF - 129 KB]