Blog Posts Related to the Native American Community

  • Tribal Input and Agency Plans to Implement the Executive Order on Tribal Consultation

    Ed. Note: the list of agency contacts below was updated on January 6, 2010.

    As part of the President Obama's commitment to regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with federally recognized Indian tribes, we are pleased to update you on the implementation of the Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation, which the President signed during the White House Tribal Nations Conference on November 5, 2009. The President directed federal agencies to develop plans to implement Executive Order 13175, "Consultation and Coordination with Tribal Governments." These plans are to be developed after consultation with Indian tribes and must be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget by February 3, 2010.   

    Through interagency coordination and other methods, agencies are presently seeking input from tribal leaders. For example, the Department of the Interior initiated a series of consultations starting on December 1, 2009.  The Department of Justice is conducting teleconference calls with tribes; please visit their website for a complete schedule of calls. Through national conference calls and in writing, the Department of Homeland Security is requesting tribal input on a draft consultation policy and a plan. The Department of Veterans Affairs is also requesting written tribal input. The Department of Labor will be hosting two national consultations; more details can be found on their website.

    Please communicate with the agencies directly for more information, and please click here (pdf) if you would like the latest list of agency contacts. 

    For general questions, please email GeneralTribalIGA@dsr.eop.gov. We encourage you to participate in these ongoing discussions, and we look forward to working together to strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship.

    Jodi Gillette is with the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

  • Clearing Up a Few Myths on Health Insurance Reform and the Indian Health Service

    I wanted to record this new video for the "Reality Check" site and write this post to debunk the myth that the Indian Health Service (IHS) is a government health plan gone wrong.  It is truly unfortunate that recent press stories seek to scare Americans about health insurance reform by highlighting the IHS system.

    Viewing this video requires Adobe Flash Player 8 or higher. Download the free player.
    download .mp4

    First, the IHS system is not an insurance plan.  And comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges.  IHS provides comprehensive health care services to approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives living on or near reservations in 35 states.  Some of these health services include doctor visits and check-ups, dental and vision care, diabetes prevention and treatment, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and home health care.  IHS also helps construct hospitals and clinics and provides safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives.  Health insurance, by contrast, provides individuals a guarantee to a defined set of benefits for a price.  While the IHS accepts insurance payments for care it provides, it is not an insurance plan.

    Second, national health reform will not dismantle IHS.  American Indians and Alaska Natives will continue to have access to their Indian health service facilities. And third, while Indian health has been is historically underfunded, several tribes have developed innovative and award winning approaches to provide health care to their communities. These sites serve as successful models for other rural and public health programs.  President Obama supports IHS which is why he proposed a 13% increase in the FY 2010 budget, and invested $590 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.          

    Kimberly Teehee is Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs at the White House Domestic Policy Council.