See: Governor’s Office on Tribal Relations
Laws 1953, Chapter 50 created the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs (ACOIA). Statutory authority was found at A.R.S. §§ 41-541 through 41-545 until 2016. Certain statutory provisions were repealed while others were modified and transferred to the Governor’s Office on Tribal Relations. Statutory authority for the new agency is found at A.R.S. §§41-2051 through 41-2054. See Laws 2016, Chapter 150.
ACOIA’s original charge was to study and compile information on all aspects of Native American life in Arizona and facilitate cooperation between the state and federal governments. Those duties still largely described ACOIA’s purpose until 2016. The ACOIA assisted and supported Indians and tribal councils in the state and worked to enhance relationships between the State of Arizona and tribal entities. (Laws 2001, Chapter 74, Section 3 – Purpose). ACOIA was responsible for helping federal and state agencies cooperate with tribal councils and Native Americans in Arizona. This included assembling and making available facts needed by tribal, state, and federal agencies; offering recommendations to the governor and legislature on the state’s responsibility to Native Americans; promoting increased involvement by Native Americans in state and local affairs; assisting tribal groups to develop increasingly effective methods of self-government; and assisting urban Native Americans. ACOIA was authorized to request information from state and local public employees unless disclosure was prevented by law. The ACOIA was also authorized to publish an annual directory of tribal governments and other tribal and Native American related organizations.
The Commission consisted of 20 members. The following were ex officio members: the Governor; the Superintendent of Public Instruction; the directors of the departments of Health Services, Transportation, Economic Security, and Gaming; the director of the Office of Tourism; the chief executive of the Arizona Commerce Authority; and the Attorney General. The Governor also appointed four at large members (one representing a nonprofit agency) and seven members chosen from Arizona tribes (based on names submitted by tribes or tribal councils). Members served three-year terms.
ACOIA was created in 1953 to study Native American life, compile information about all aspects of Native American life, and facilitate cooperation between the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the state government. ACOIA was required to publish an annual report as well as other reports, if requested by the Governor.
Initially the commission included only 11 members; four ex officio members (Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, director of Public Health, Attorney General) and seven appointed members (two at large, non-Indian members and five members of Arizona tribes). The Commission was required to meet at least two times a year. Members who failed to attend three consecutive meetings were considered to have resigned.
Laws 1973, Chapter 99 allowed ACOIA to employ staff.
Laws 1974, Chapter 23 increased the number of members of Arizona tribes appointed to ACOIA from five members to seven; required ACOIA to receive permission from the appropriate tribal council before starting or assisting with a program on a reservation; and allowed ACOIA to apply for, receive and expend gifts, grants of money and property.
Laws 1986, Chapter 37 added the directors of the departments of Transportation and Economic Security as ex officio members of ACOIA. The measure also required the Commission to meet at least quarterly; modified ACOIA’s powers and duties; and authorized the Governor to appoint an executive director.
Laws 1990, Chapter 36 authorized the ACOIA to publish an annual directory of tribal governments and other related organizations and established the Indian Affairs Commission Publications Fund (A.R.S. § 41-543).
Laws 1999, Chapter 53 added the director of the Office of Tourism and the director of the Department of Commerce as ex officio members of ACOIA.
Laws 2002, Chapter 197 expanded the ACOIA powers and duties by requiring assistance to urban Native Americans and facilitating an annual “Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day.” The measure also created an Arizona Indian Town Hall Fund to defray the costs of town hall meetings and limited the amount that could be expended in a single fiscal year to $15,000.
Laws 2011, Chapter 110 added the director of the Department of Gaming as an ex officiomember of ACOIA and increased the number of appointive members to 11 by adding two at large members. The measure also specified that an appointed member could be removed either by the Governor or at the request of the tribe or tribal council that nominated the member and deleted the expenditure cap of $15,000 per fiscal year.
Laws 2012, Chapter 170 added the chief executive officer of the Arizona Commerce Authority as an ex officio member, replacing the director of the Department of Commerce.
Laws 2016, Chapter 150 repealed the ACOIA and established a new entity, the Governor’s Office on Tribal Relations, which succeeded to the authority, powers, duties and responsibilities of the ACOIA, effective July 1, 2016. Equipment, records, property, data, obligations and unspent or unencumbered monies were transferred as well. Prior actions and valid obligations of the ACOIA in existence on the effective date of the measure were not altered.
A.R.S. §§ 41-541 through 41-545 (until July 1, 2016)
- Laws 1953, Chapter 50
- Laws 1973, Chapter 99
- Laws 1974, Chapter 23
- Laws 1986, Chapter 37
- Laws 1990, Chapter 36
- Laws 1999, Chapter 53
- Laws 2001, Chapter 74
- Laws 2002, Chapter 197
- Laws 2011, Chapter 110
- Laws 2012, Chapter 170
- Laws 2016, Chapter 150
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
RG 26 – Commission of Indian Affairs