Tribal Consultations

Honoring Commitments and Building Relationships

Since the formation of the Union, the United States (U.S.) has recognized Indian Tribes as sovereign nations. Integral to this unique government-to-government relationship is the formal process of Consultation. Through Consultation, Tribal Nations provide meaningful and timely input on potential actions by Federal agencies that may significantly affect them. Characterized by an emphasis on trust, respect, and shared responsibility, Tribal Consultation is an open and free exchange of information intended to lead to mutual understanding and comprehension.

Although grounded in the U.S. Constitution, treaties, statutes, Federal case law, and regulations, the Federal-Tribal relationship has also been reaffirmed through several executive orders including the most recent issued in 2021. On January 26, 2021, President Biden reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment charging all executive departments and agencies with engaging in “regular, meaningful, and robust consultation” with Tribal officials.

Tribal Consultation at NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is committed to supporting the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Through enhanced communication and collaboration between NIH and AI/AN communities, NIH strives to build biomedical research capacity, expand research, and enhance cultural competency and community engagement.

At NIH, the Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) conducts Tribal Consultation at least once a year to ensure critical input regarding agency research. Consultation occurs when NIH, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or a Tribe identifies an NIH action – proposed research projects, priorities, programs, and other activities of interest to American Indians and Alaska Natives – with substantial direct effects for one or more Tribes. THRO ensures that NIH follows the NIH Guidance on the Implementation of the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy and adheres to the policy. The office also prepares Consultation summaries, tracks follow-up, and reports outcomes.

Current Tribal Consultations

(Virtual) NIH Tribal Consultation on the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) Program Evaluation
Sponsored by the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in conjunction with other NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs)

The NARCH program provides research and career enrichment opportunities to meet the specific health needs identified and prioritized by AI/AN Tribes and Tribally based organizations. We welcome your input on draft recommendations stemming from the NARCH program evaluation.
Learn more about NARCH | Read the Dear Tribal Leader Letter (DTLL)

Anticipated Date and Time: Monday, June 14, 2021, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET

Past Tribal Consultations

View details and materials from past NIH Tribal Consultations.

This page last reviewed on April 20, 2021