TITLE: Restoring Funding for Tribal Technical Assistance Centers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides specific prevention efforts through training and technical assistance for any tribe or tribal organization requesting assistance to address suicide and/or substance abuse/misuse and training and technical assistance for Circles of Care and Native Connections grantees; and
WHEREAS, the Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center at SAMHSA is a vital resource to tribes seeking funding through SAMHSA grants and training and technical assistance for specific grant programs; and
WHEREAS, all tribes are able to request services and support through the SAMHSA Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center regardless of whether they are SAMHSA grantees; and
WHEREAS, the current Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center does not include support for Circles of Care grantees, as it did prior to September 2018, and the Native Connections grantees support has been limited to virtual services only and for a limited number of Native Connections grantees; and
WHEREAS, there are no plans in place to replace the services provided by the Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center for the Circles of Care grant program or to provide the Native Connections grantees with face-to-face support or to fully fund training and technical assistance to all Native Connections grantees; and
WHEREAS, the decreased services of the Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Centers will detrimentally impact tribal communities’ abilities to successfully implement their Circle of Care grants; and
WHEREAS, full funding and restoration of onsite support for Native Connections grantees will enhance the Native Connections program success at lowering substance abuse, including opioids, and suicide incidences in tribal communities; and
WHEREAS, the Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center could greatly enhance tribes’ ability to address the opioid crisis through greater utilization of SAMHSA resources; and
WHEREAS, the opioid crisis and addiction continue to have severe negative impacts on tribal nations and their citizens; and
WHEREAS, the 2018 budget agreement included $50 million for Tribal Opioid Response grants to be administered by SAMHSA in FY 2018 and FY 2019; and
WHEREAS, SAMHSA announced its award of TOR grants to many fewer tribal nations than it anticipated for this funding year because it received fewer applications than SAMHSA anticipated; and
WHEREAS, tribal nations that did not receive a TOR grant award this funding year will not be eligible for an award next year because first year funding is a prerequisite for second year funding; and
WHEREAS, technical assistance regarding application and grant requirements would assist tribal nations when applying for badly need resources for substance abuse prevention and treatment initiatives in tribal communities.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) urges the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to restore funding to the Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center to support the Circles of Care grant program and to restore funding for Native Connections grantees to allow for site visits and support for all Native Connections grantees to ensure that Indian Country has access to tailored and needed training and technical assistance; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI urges the SAMHSA not to make any changes to the provision of training and technical assistance services to tribes, including the Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center, until proper consultation, as outlined in the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy is conducted; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI urges SAMHSA to work with tribal nations to address the ineligibility of tribal nations to receive funding if they did not receive funding during the initial TOR grant award, so that tribal nations have the resources they need to address substance abuse and addiction in their communities; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2018 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colorado October 21-26, 2018, with a quorum present.
Jefferson Keel, President
Juana Majel Dixon, Recording Secretary