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.

The Federal-Tribal relationship is grounded in the U.S. Constitution, treaties, statutes, Federal case law, regulations, and has been reaffirmed through executive orders. Most recently, President Biden issued an Executive Memorandum on January 26, 2021 emphasizing 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. Through enhanced communication and collaboration between NIH and Tribal Nations, NIH strives to build biomedical research capacity, expand research, and enhance cultural awareness and community engagement.

At NIH, the Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) conducts Tribal Consultation at least once a year to ensure critical input on 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 Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) adhere to the new NIH Tribal Consultation Policy.

New Tribal Consultation Policy: Fostering Consistent, Meaningful Engagement with Tribal Nations
Read post by THRO Director Dr. David R. Wilson on the new NIH Tribal Consultation Policy.

Current Tribal Consultations

NIH Tribal Consultation on the NIH Strategic Plan for Tribal Health Research, FY2024–2028
Sponsored by the NIH Tribal Health Research Office

  • HHS Region 1: June 28, 2022
  • HHS Region 3: June 21–22, 2022
  • HHS Region 4: June 15–16, 2022
  • HHS Region 5: July 19–20, 2022
  • HHS Region 6: August 16–17, 2022
  • HHS Region 7: July 12–14, 2022
  • HHS Region 8: June 7–8, 2022
  • HHS Region 9: July 26–28, 2022
  • HHS Region 10: August 22–24, 2022

DTLL  |  Framing Letter  |  Current Strategic Plan  |  Quick Reference: List of Current Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives

NIH requests input to inform the NIH Strategic Plan for Tribal Health Research, FY2024–2028. The purpose of the strategic plan, which will build on the existing one, is to improve NIH’s relationship and collaborative efforts with American Indian and Alaska Native communities with the goal of addressing health research needs. The virtual NIH Tribal Consultation will occur during the HHS regional consultations listed above. Additional supporting materials will be posted here as they become available.


NIH Tribal Consultation on the NIH IMPROVE Initiative Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence
Sponsored by the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Thursday, June 30, 2022, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET, Virtual

DTLL  |  Framing Letter

NIH requests input on the IMPROVE (Implementing a Maternal health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone) Initiative and establishment of Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence, including how to encourage applications from American Indian and Alaska Native researchers interested in proposing a Native-focused center and on responsible data management and sharing practices and strategies. This information will inform the rapid development of Centers of Excellence funding opportunities, enabling NIH to support research that may help save lives and improve well-being.


NIH Tribal Consultation on the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C)
Sponsored by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

Friday, February 11, 2022, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET, Virtual
Watch recording

The Tribal Consultation on N3C was held to solicit input and recommendations on whether and how to appropriately make American Indian and Alaska Native data available to Tribal researchers and to the broader scientific research community. Please visit the N3C Tribal Consultation website for more details.

Past Tribal Consultations

View details and materials from past NIH Tribal Consultations.

This page last reviewed on June 29, 2022