Indian Policy

Indian Tribe pictures

The Office of Indian Policy's role is to assist the collective needs of tribal governments and Recognized American Indian Organizations to assure quality and comprehensive program service delivery from the Department of Social and Health Services to all American Indians and Alaska Natives in Washington state.

Ensure Access

  • We develop recommendations in conjunction with DSHS Administrations, the Secretary's Indian Policy Advisory Committee (IPAC), tribal governments and Indian organizations to improve service delivery to native communities.
  • We ensure direct and timely access for tribal participation in the planning and development of service delivery.



  • We advocate for culturally relevant delivery of services to Indian tribes/communities.
  • We evaluate policy to ensure compliance with treaties, federal law, and tribal/state agreements.
  • We monitor and evaluate DSHS services to Indian tribes/communities.
  • We ensure the implementation of the DSHS Administrative Policy 7.01.


Assist Communication

  • We strengthen working relationships between Indian people, DSHS and other agencies.
  • We coordinate and facilitate the development of regional resources for the provision of technical assistance and training to each region.
  • We facilitate consultation and provide information to tribal governments to keep them advised of departmental matters.


Where We Came From

In 1991 the Department of Social and Health Services created Indian Policy and Support Services (now the Office of Indian Policy). It was staffed with director, administrative support, and regional managers. Since then, we have filled tribal liaison positions across all administrations and divisions at a headquarters level, as well as in the various regions across Washington state. Development and implementation of memorandums of understanding and other working agreements, formal consultation, and communication were formalized in 2006 to become protocols.

The Office of Indian Policy is and has been committed to developing and maintaining an increasingly healthy relationship with tribal governments through transparency, communication, and inclusion. It provides government-to-government training to all DSHS staff, other Washington state departments, and federal partners to foster cultural competency and awareness.