Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
The Indian Health Service (IHS) announced that it will hold Tribal consultation on the updated draft of the IHS Tribal Consultation Policy (TCP) on August 9, 2023 from 12:00 - 2:00 pm EDT. Interested participants may register for the consultation here.
The IHS Director’s Advisory Workgroup on Tribal Consultation (Consultation Workgroup) met in June to review feedback from prior Tribal consultations on this topic and discuss pending items. The Consultation Workgroup achieved consensus on the decision to align the IHS TCP with both the Executive Order (EO) 13175, Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships, and the Presidential Memorandum on Uniform Standards for Tribal Consultation. The Workgroup also agreed to align the IHS TCP with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tribal Consultation Policy. Many of the most recent updates to the IHS TCP, as seen in the redline, sought to align it with the above documents.
The upcoming Tribal consultation seeks to gather input on the IHS TCP as a whole, as well as on a point where the Consultation Workgroup did not achieve consensus. The Consultation Workgroup failed to reach consensus on how to respond to the Congressional mandate that federal agencies consult with Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs.) The IHS is seeking input on whether to include ANCs in the IHS TCP or create a separate policy for consulting with ANCs. In 2021, USET SPF commented to IHS during a previous consultation on the IHS TCP in accordance with the Biden Administration’s directive that all federal agencies update their TCPs. In our comments, USET SPF maintained our position that the consultative relationship is between Tribal Nations and the federal government only, in recognition of our Nation-to-Nation, sovereign-to-sovereign diplomatic relationship. Federal agencies and programs should not consult on a nation-to-nation basis with non-governmental entities, such as ANCs. While we acknowledge that there are occasions when the input of ANCs should be considered, USET SPF asserts that this should not be done through consultation, which is reserved for sovereign Tribal Nations, but rather through a "confer" process.
More information on this consultation, including the question IHS provided for consideration and both the clean and redlined versions of the IHS TCP, can be found in the Dear Tribal Leader Letter.
For more information, please contact Ashton Martin, USET SPF Health Policy Analyst, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 629-736-1433.