Policy Alert: NCUIH to Testify before House on Urban Confer Bill This Week

This week, the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) will testify before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States in support of the Urban Indian Health Confer Act (H.R. 5221), which would require agencies and offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to confer with UIOs on policies and initiatives related to healthcare for urban American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs).  

On Tuesday, October 5, Walter Murillo (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), NCUIH President and Chief Executive Officer NATIVE HEALTH in Phoenix, Arizona, will testify before the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States in support of H.R. 5221 during a legislative hearing at 12 p.m. EST. H.R. 5221 would require HHS agencies to confer with UIOs, enabling UIOs to engage in important dialogue with all divisions within the agency so urban Indian communities can be aware of important healthcare policies, especially during the current public health crisis. 


An Urban Confer is an established mechanism for dialogue between federal agencies and UIOs. Urban Confer policies are a response to decades of deliberate federal efforts (i.e., forced assimilation, termination, relocation) that have resulted in 70% of AI/AN people living outside of Tribal jurisdictions, thus making Urban Confer integral to address the care needs of most AI/AN persons. NCUIH has long advocated for the importance of facilitating confer between numerous federal branches within HHS and UIO-stakeholders without any resolve. Currently, only the Indian Health Service (IHS) has a legal obligation to confer with UIOs. It is important to note that Urban Confer policies do not supplant or otherwise impact tribal consultation and the government-to-government relationship between Tribes and federal agencies.   

The Urban Indian Health Confer Act will ensure the many branches and divisions within HHS and all agencies under its purview establish a formal confer process to dialogue with UIOs on policies that impact them and their AI/AN patients living in urban centers. 

Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States Remote Legislative Hearing 

October 5, 2021 | 12:00 p.m. EST 

Presiding: The Honorable Teresa Leger Fernández, Chair 

On Tuesday, October 5 at 12:00 p.m. EST, the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States (SCIP) will host a virtual, fully remote legislative hearing on the following tribal-related legislation: 

  • H.J.Res.55 H.J. Res. 55 (Rep. Kahele), To consent to the amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, made by Act 080 of the Session Laws of Hawaii, 2017. Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole Protecting Family Legacies Act. 

  • H.R. 441 H.R. 5221 (Rep. Don Young), To provide for the conveyance of certain property to the Tanana Tribal Council located in Tanana, Alaska, and for other purposes. 

  • H.R. 2402 H.R. 5221 (Rep. Fortenberry), To transfer administrative jurisdiction of certain Federal lands from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to take such lands into trust for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, and for other purposes. Winnebago Land Transfer Act of 2021. 

  • H.R. 4881 H.R. 5221 (Rep. Raúl Grijalva), To direct the Secretary of the Interior to take into trust for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona certain land in Pima County, Arizona, and for other purposes. Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act. 

  • H.R. 5221 H.R. 5221 (Rep. Raúl Grijalva), To amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to establish an urban Indian organization confer policy for the Department of Health and Human Services. Urban Indian Health Confer Act. 

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By NCUIH, posted on Friday October 1, 2021
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