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Tribal Affairs


American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) will enjoy a high-quality, self-directed, satisfying life integrated in a community that includes:

Health – Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way;

Home – A stable and safe place to live that supports recovery;

Purpose – Meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, as well as the independence, income, and resources to participate in society; and

Community – Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.


To develop, coordinate, and communicate SAMHSA’s policies and resources to improve behavioral health in Tribal/Village communities.

About SAMHSA’s Tribal Affairs

SAMHSA’s Tribal Affairs agenda includes opportunities for informed communication with Tribal Leaders on SAMHSA policies and programs. Specifically, SAMHSA’s Tribal Affairs has a special focus on AI/AN youth suicide and substance abuse prevention. In addition, Tribal Affairs strives to engage Federal agencies, national and regional AI/AN organizations, States, and behavioral health providers to collaborate on mitigating the social and economic factors that impede positive behavioral health outcomes.

Work with the SAMHSA Tribal Technical Advisory Committee (STTAC)

To acknowledge and support the Federal government to Tribal government relationship, SAMHSA established the STTAC in February 2008. The committee is comprised of elected/appointed Tribal leaders. The committee is charged with providing information on the public health needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives, especially identifying urgent substance abuse and mental health needs, and discussing collaborative approaches to meeting those needs. The SAMHSA TTAC meets at least two times per year.

Tribal Consultation Activity – SAMHSA participates in:

  • HHS Annual Tribal Budget Consultation - every March
  • HHS Regional Consultation: January – May
  • SAMHSA-Specific Tribal Consultation – Throughout the year, as needed
  • SAMHSA Tribal Consultation Policy – adopted in 2008 and currently under revision

For more information on the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy & Process access the Intergovernmental External Affairs website at:

SAMHSA Tribal Portfolio

(Does not reflect additional Contracts/Sub-contracts or Inter-agency Agreements)

FY 2010 = 104 Grant Awards to Tribes/ Tribal Organizations = $68,120,563

FY 2011 = 103 Grant Awards to Tribes/ Tribal Organizations = $71, 065,895

Circles of Care Program


COC is a three-year discretionary infrastructure grant program for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes, and tribal organizations (including Urban Indian programs and Tribal Colleges). COC is housed in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services’ Child, Adolescent and Family Branch. The program’s primary goals include a) planning for the development of a community-based system of care model for children with mental health challenges and their families; b) developing local capacity and infrastructure to assist tribal communities to obtain funding and resources to implement their model system of care. The grant program allows tribes and tribal organizations to apply without competing for funding with states, counties, or cities. In the current cohort, grantees are allowed to use up to 30% of their funds to pilot a service that is designed to implement the infrastructure changes they develop in their model system of care.

Future Circles of Care grant opportunities will depend on the availability of funds. All SAMHSA grant opportunities, including Circles of Care, are announced via

For more information on Circles of Care:

SAMHSA Mental Health and Substance Abuse Data and Educational Resources

Federal Initiatives and Resources

United States’ Department of Health & Human Services: SAMHSA Tribal Affairs Behavioral Health Areas of Focus
Office of the Secretary Federal Partners
Public/Private Partners

More Behavioral Health Resources

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