Overview of the Project 
Between 2012 and 2013, the ASU American Indian Policy Institute and Labriola National American Indian Data Center partnered with the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) in documenting its legacy of service to Tribes in Arizona.  The first phase of the project focused on the gathering of historical documents from archives within Arizona and the cataloging of these and other documents at the ITCA offices. 

For more than half a century, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) has developed innovative approaches to carry out the directives identified by its member Tribes. In 1952, the elected leaders of nine Tribes in Arizona formed ITCA to provide a united voice to pursue shared goals. ITCA was tasked with addressing issues that affected the Tribes collectively or individually, which enabled tribal governments in Arizona to combine their efforts and resources towards self-determination

Since its formation, ITCA and its member tribes, have been an influential political force in the state and nation. ITCA has been a strong and effective advocate for the tribal governments in Arizona on various federal and state legislative issues as well as policies. ITCA continues to provide a forum for Tribes to come together, address issues, and move them to policy development. While ITCA does not speak for any specific Tribe, it enables Tribes to come together as a powerful and coordinated force. Today, twenty-one federally recognized Tribes are members of the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona. The highest elected official of each tribe - the Chairperson, President, or Governor - is the member of ITCA.

Legacy of ITCA Project

The ‘Legacy of the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona’ Project analyzed the role of ITCA in the development of national Indian policy from the critical era following World War II to the present. The Project explored the role of Tribes in Arizona and ITCA in the development of federal self-determination policy and practices focusing on the perspectives of tribal leaders who founded and led the Association. The Project also documented the evolution of ITCA via interviews with executive staff, identifying the goals and activities from its earliest years, as well as the strategies and tactics used by ITCA’s leadership in accomplishing collective goals over time. 

The development of the federal self-determination statutes and policies in the 1960s is widely acknowledged as a key turning point in Indian Country in the U.S. Groundbreaking laws that were passed during this era addressed American Indian self-determination, healthcare, child welfare, environmental management, economic development, education, and housing, among others. Before the 1970s, the state, cities, and counties would rarely consider dealing with tribes as governments. The work of ITCA and its member Tribes during the early Self-Determination Era produced innovative methods of dealing with state and federal governments to work together for the betterment of both, catapulting Arizona into the forefront of tribal-state relations.


 This program was made possible in part by the Arizona Humanities Council. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Project has received additional funding from the ASU Institute for Humanities Research and the Library Services and Technology Act grant program.