National Tribal Public Health
Summit 2022 Recap
On May 9 – 12, 2022 over 800 Tribal leaders, practitioners, researchers, policy experts, and advocates virtually attended the National Indian Health Board’s (NIHB) annual National Tribal Public Health Summit (TPHS) 2022. The two free pre-summit days included the Indian Health Service (IHS) Listening Session, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Listening Session, and the National Tribal Behavioral Health Listening Session. Watch the videos here. In addition to the listening sessions, TPHS 2022 offered several free institutes. Read the Spring 2022 Health Reporter here.
In addition to the listening sessions, the National Tribal Public Health Summit 2022 offered several FREE institutes -- Institute Project Firstline (PFL), Institute Strong Systems, Stronger Communities (SSSC), Institute Domestic Violence Program (DVP), Institute Maternal Mortality Review Committee, (MMRC), Institute Dental Health Aid Therapy (DHAT), and Institute Climate Ready Tribe (CRT). Read the Spring 2022 Health Reporter here.
Summit attendees were welcomed by Chief William "Bill" Smith, Valdez Native Tribe, NIHB Chairman and Alaska Area Representative and heard opening remarks from Stacy A. Bohlen, Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa, NIHB Chief Executive Officer who thanked Indian Country for their support and resiliency during NIHB’s fifty years throughout the decades of advocacy.
Vice President Kamala Harris provided a video message for summit attendees addressing the ongoing desperate outcomes of Native women and their maternal health journey. “Native maternal health must be elevated as a national priority.” Read the press release here Watch the video remarks here.
Abby Roque, Wahnapitae First Nation, Olympic Silver Medalist, USA Olympic Womens Hockey Team told her story of resiliency growing up as a female indigenous hockey player in rural Sault Ste. Marie Michigan and the significance health played in her journey. “The work that the NIHB does year-round to ensure that Tribes are treated as the sovereignty that they are is important,” said Roque. Watch the video remarks here.
Tribal Health IS Public Health is a call to action for Tribal, federal, state, and local agencies to, “Foster relationships with others in health care. So much sharing and networking is happening and that’s why today and NIHB is so important,” said Deputy-Chief Bryan Warner, Cherokee Nation. That sentiment was shared by Representative Markwayne Mullin (R - Oklahoma) and Congressman Tom Cole whose video messages also acknowledged IHS has been consistently underfunded but Tribes have remained resilient. Watch the video remarks here.
Resiliency reigned as attendees observed an interview with Dr. Jill Jim, Navajo Department of Health Executive Director and Dr. Anthony Fauci who talked about what is on the horizon. Dr Fauci stated, “Each variant seems slightly more transmissible than the one previous but not at a greater severity.” Long term COVID is a serious problem plaguing up to 30 percent of suffers. Achieving heard immunity is unlikely according to Dr. Fauci and we may see standardized COVID vaccinations moving forward. Watch the interview here.

NIHB was joined by Juana Majel-Dixon, PhD, Pauma-Yuima Band of Luiseño Indians, Legislative Councilperson and Joe Garcia, Ohkay Owingeh, Head Councilman who discussed how innovative Tribes were during the pandemic and were able to successfully care for their members. Captain Kari Hearod, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, SAMHSA expressed, “ I’m in continual awe every day that these Tribal programs take the resources they do have and make them impactful for the people they serve." Tribes are creative and an example of how flexible and resilient our people are.
After another day of workshops and roundtables, the summit’s closing plenary session was led by inspiring words from many. With the summit originally slated to be held in person in Alaska, it was more than relevant to have the Health Impacts of Climate Change presentation. “Within our region, 70 percent of our shareholders rely on subsistence for more than 50 percent of their household diet. This is still an important practice for our communities and a really important way that we connect to our heritage and continuing our culture and traditional way of life, in addition to the important role it plays in food security,” Liz Qaulluq Cravalho, U.S. Arctic Research Commission, Vice President of Lands, NANA Regional Corporation.
The Youth Engagement in Tribal Public Health panel discussion followed where summit attendees were moved by the sentiment of the youth, “Until we do it ourselves these institutions will never do it for us,” Tamee Livermont, MPH, Center for American Indian and Minority Health Representative. Read about the panel discussion here.
A Congressional Update from U.S. Representative Sharice Davids reminded all, “Each and every member of Congress has a trust responsibility to Tribes.” “The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act will establish a formal commission to investigate and document assimilation practices that occurred against Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, that includes the attempted termination of cultures and languages of Indigenous peoples throughout the early 20th century.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R - AK) joined Chief Bill and raised concern about the disparities in Native health and Tribal infrastructure. “We talk a lot about the digital divide, but it is real. It is real in Alaska and across Indian Country," Senator Murkowski. She also spoke about May 5, 2022, MMIP Day Recognition, “We’ve done good work in raising awareness of the crisis of missing and murdered women and girls. But we need to take action to the crisis.”
Deborah Parker, Tulalip/Yaqui, Chief Executive Officer, National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition expressed, "I feel heartbroken for the atrocities of the past but I also have this sense of pride and this sense of excitement for our future." You can support the Healing the Trauma of Federal Indian Boarding Schools initiate. Read the report here.

The summit wound down with the Building the Future of Tribal Public Health panel led by Nickolaus Lewis, Lummi Nation, NIHB Vice Chairman and Portland Area Representative. "Alaska Natives and American Indians want what every other family wants. We want our kids to grow up safe and healthy," Valerie Nurr'araaluk Davidson, CEO, Alaska Native Tribal Health Center. Holistic from our mind, souls, and bodies. We will adapt because we are resilient but fight for who we are. A better future for future generations,” Mona Zuffante, MPH, CPH Winnebago Public Health Administrator Winnebago Public Health Department Winnebago Comprehensive Healthcare System.
Sam Moose, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, NIHB Treasurer and Bemidji Area Representative provided closing remarks and invited all to the National Tribal Health Conference and 50th Anniversary Celebration, September 25-29, 2022, in Washington, DC. More information coming soon!
Thank You TPHS 2022 Sponsors!