Tribal sovereignty refers to the right of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes to determine their own future. Tribes have the right to operate as self-governing nations through their elected tribal governments. 

Tribes have the right to educate their citizens. As sovereign nations, tribes exercise autonomy over education, such as by participating in decision-making for local schools serving Native students, developing and selecting culturally relevant curricula, and identifying advisory council members to ensure schools make the right decisions on behalf of Native students. 

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) consult with tribes about the education of Native students in matters related to fiscal planning, budgeting, education resources, and culturally relevant program evaluation to measure effectiveness. 

    • Image of cover Tribal Sovereignty and Consultation: Tribal Education Quick Reference
    • Thumbnail of cover page Tribal Sovereignty and Consultation: Collaboration with Tribes
    • Thumbnail of title section Tribal Sovereignty and Consultation Infographic
    • The Tribal Consultation and Sovereignty category has five demonstrations of effective integration.

      1. The state supports LEAs to achieve significant tribal consultation in school planning and budgeting.
      2. The state includes tribes in developing education evaluation plans that honor culturally relevant success criteria (e.g., language revitalization, integration of traditional ecological knowledge, etc.). 
      3. The state tracks and monitors tribal consultations in LEA and school planning and budgeting. 
      4. The state provides support for tribes to participate in the management of schools (e.g., through compacting, tribally operated school, charter schools, etc.)
      5. The state shares student data with tribes. The state ensures the accurate identification of Native students by tribal affiliation.