Advancement of a Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda

Download PDF

TITLE: Advancement of a Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda

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, 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 NCAI has a vested interest in supporting and advancing the emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native people; and

WHEREAS, the high rates of behavioral health challenges among American Indian and Alaska Native people create an urgency for Tribes, federal agencies, and other stakeholders to partner in a manner that seeks to improve the health of all American Indians and Alaska Natives; and

WHEREAS, there is currently no one single, national document that elevates the importance of behavioral health for AI/AN people, identifies the collective priorities of Tribal communities related to behavioral health, and guides the development of/or incorporation of behavioral health-related actions intended to improve the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native youth, families, and communities; and

WHEREAS, in order to create a blueprint for effectively addressing behavioral health, Tribal leaders, Tribal members and stakeholders from diverse sectors need to be meaningfully engaged so as to garner input and feedback on behavioral health priorities, goals, and recommendations; and

WHEREAS, it is vital that any such document reflect a respect for the inherent sovereignty of Tribal nations, and support the opportunities for exploration and implementation of strategies and solutions that are appropriate for their communities, align with their cultural values, and honors self-determination; and

WHEREAS, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the federal agency that has allocated staff and resources to serve as the federal lead in the development and creation of a blueprint for advancing behavioral health in Indian Country, and has partnered with the National Indian Health Board to assist with its development and dissemination.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) calls upon Tribal leadership, partner organizations, and federal agencies to work collaboratively and offer support for the creation and implementation of the Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI supports efforts to develop, disseminate, and implement a Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda that would advance the behavioral health for all American Indian and Alaska Native people; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.