Tribal Affairs Office - About Us

In 1972, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recognized the unique legal relationship with Indian Tribes located in Wisconsin with the creation of a tribal liaison position.  Several years later, the position evolved into the Tribal Affairs Office with liaison, fiscal and program responsibilities. 

Today, the Tribal Affairs Office continues to serve as liaison to Indian governments, Indian organizations, the urban Indian population, the general public, and DHS staff by:

  • Facilitating an effective government-to-government relationship between DHS and Indian governments of Wisconsin;
  • Ensuring tribal-department collaboration in the development of policy, program and funding initiatives impacting tribal communities;
  • Fostering effective communication and collaboration between DHS and tribal staff;
  • Training DHS staff and others in the area of tribal relations through ongoing comprehensive education sessions;
  • Administering the tribal/department contracting process for health and human service programs;
  • Providing or arranging for technical assistance to tribal governments and communities;
  • Facilitating the provision of culturally appropriate services in tribal communities;
  • Providing administrative, fiscal, and program oversight of programs contracted to Indian governments and organizations.

Roles and responsibilities of TAO staff include:

  • Exercising multiple roles in the protection and promotion of the health and safety of the people of Wisconsin
  • Helping in the development of Wisconsin tribal policies
  • Organizing mid-year and end-year DHS tribal consultation meetings
  • Organizing and/or attending state-wide tribal and state program meetings
  • Participating in the Governor’s quarterly tribal consultation policy meetings with reports
  • Consulting with DHS staff and tribes on funding and program requirements
  • Communicating with tribal governments and/or GLITC on issues of concern
  • Developing, negotiating and administering the tribal contract
  • Facilitating the development, implementation and coordination of Human Services Programs
  • Providing training and technical assistance to DHS staff on tribal culture, structure, and funding
Last Revised: January 14, 2016