Tribal Public Health Law

Latest Resource for Tribal Public Health Law

Table: Tribal Public Health Law Resource

The Tribal Public Health Law Resource Table lists organizations with experience in tribal and public health law, provides contact information and highlights each organization’s relevant focus.

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From the Public Health Law Blog

An Update on Tribal Public Health Law


The Western Region has taken the lead role on the topic of Tribal Public Health Law since the inception of the Network for Public Health Law. There are 565 federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native tribal governments in the United States.

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Primary Legal Issues

Tribal governments seek to protect the health, safety and welfare of their members as a feature of their inherent sovereign authority. The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638) enables tribal governments to directly administer their own public health and other programs.

Tribal public health laws interact in important ways with federal, state and local laws, necessitating culturally sensitive and cohesive legal strategies as well as tailored training and resources working with (and within) tribal governments. Tribal governments deal regularly with public health legal issues including:

  • Investigation and resolution of public health emergencies involving tribal lands, members and enterprises
  • Inter-jurisdictional coordination and distribution of routine and emergency health services, responses and payments for treating tribal members
  • Data sharing policies among tribal and state governments concerning vital statistics, hospital discharge files, communicable disease reporting and immunization, and cancer registries
  • Enforcement of laws related to alcohol and tobacco distribution and consumption on tribal lands

Technical Assistance Capacity

The Network will provide technical assistance on the relationship between state, local and tribal public health laws and policy issues through collaborative partnerships with tribal governments and organizations. The Network will also secure relevant input from state and local governments and other stakeholders on issues of mutual concern.

For legal assistance and support on tribal public health law:

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The Network for Public Health Law provides information and technical assistance on issues related to public health. The legal information and assistance provided does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, please consult specific legal counsel. For more information on the type of legal assistance the Network can provide, please see frequently asked questions.