The Constitution and Bylaws of the Burns Paiute Colony, adopted May 16, 1968, delineates the objectives, membership, powers of the General Council, and bill of rights of the Burns Paiute Tribe. the Constitution and Bylaws were revised in 1988 changing the five-member Business Council to the seven-member Tribal Council of today. This was necessary to avoid conflict between the two governing bodies, the Tribal Council and the General Council. Now the Tribal Council is directly responsible to the General Council.
The Constitution and Bylaws of the Tribe also outline the format of the governing body, elections, and duties of officers. The governing body, or General Council, consists of all qualified voters. To qualified to vote one must be a tribal member 18 years of age or older who lives on the reservation, or be an absentee voter. The General Council meets twice a year to discuss and vote on important matters.
The standard business of the tribe is conducted by the seven-member Tribal Council, which includes a chairperson and a vice-chairperson. Each member of the Tribal Council is nominated and elected to a three-year term by the General Council. The Tribal Council meets several times a month, overseeing the tribal government and carrying out the decisions of the General Council.
The tribal government includes nine departments and various committees. The departments provide essential services to the community and uphold tribal interests when working with state and federal agencies. For example, the tribal administration takes care of day to day management and accounting of the tribal government. They also assist in the formation and implementation of plans for community development and the administering of federal and state grants and contracts. The Education Department, on the other hand, works to help students of all ages stay in school, while the Health Department provides the community with health care and social services. Other departments cover such areas as environmental and energy issues, lease compliance for all the allotments and tribal lands, mitigation for fish and wildlife, cultural preservation and enhancement, law enforcement, and maintenance.
Whereas the departments are made up of tribal employees, the committees are small groups of community members appointed by Tribal Council. These committees advise, oversee, and are responsible for some of the important aspects of the tribe's organization. A five-member Election Committee organizes and runs any elections held and any recalls or initiatives called for by the tribe. The incorporated Farmland Board contracts out for hay to be produced on the farmland and puts any funds received from the selling of the hay back into supplies and production. The Parent Committee works as an advisory board tot he Education Specialist. There are also committees on culture, housing, social services, and the annual Mother's Day Pow Wow, among others. Some tribal members also are involved in committees in the nearby community of Burns.