The Tribal Affairs component of the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs was established in 2000 to serve as the official first point of contact for Tribes, Tribal Governments, and Tribal Organizations wishing to access the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Organizationally, the Tribal Affairs component is situated within the Office of the Secretary, Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (IEA) and is the Departments’ lead office for Tribal Consultation in accordance with Executive Order 13175- Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. Other duties and responsibilities of the Office of Tribal Affairs include:
- Coordination and management of IEA's tribal policy issues and serves as the Department's expert and informational resource to the Secretary
- Collaboration and outreach to Tribes and national tribal organizations
- Coordination of HHS participation in national Tribal meetings and Tribal site visits for HHS executive leadership
- Advice and assistance to the HHS Regional Directors and Senior staff on Tribal affairs
- Coordination of the Secretary's policy development for Tribes and national Tribal organizations
Tribal Consultation Policy
The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Indian Tribes share the goal to establish clear policies to further the government-to-government relationship between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes. True and effective consultation shall result in information exchange, mutual understanding, and informed decision-making on behalf of the Tribal governments involved and the Federal Government. The importance of consultation with Indian Tribes was affirmed through Presidential Memoranda in 1994, 2004 and 2009, and an Executive Order (EO) in 2000.
The goal of this policy includes, but is not limited to, eliminating health and human service disparities of Indians, ensuring that access to critical health and human services is maximized, and to advance or enhance the social, physical, and economic status of Indians. To achieve this goal, and to the extent practicable and permitted by law, it is essential that Federally-recognized Indian Tribes and the HHS engage in open, continuous, and meaningful consultation.
This policy applies to all Divisions of the Department and shall serve as a guide for Tribes to participate in all Department and Division policy development to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law. Read more.
The Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee signals a new level of attention to Government-to-Government relationship between HHS and Indian Tribal Governments.
The STAC's primary purpose is to seek consensus, exchange views, share information, provide advice and/or recommendations; or facilitate any other interaction related to intergovernmental responsibilities or administration of HHS programs, including those that arise explicitly or implicitly under statute, regulation or Executive Order. This purpose will be accomplished through forums, meetings and conversations between Federal officials and elected Tribal leaders in their official capacity (or their designated employees or national associations with authority to act on their behalf). Read more.
HHS provides a vast amount of resources for Tribes. Below includes a list of resources that may be helpful.