Since 1955, the Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has had the responsibility of providing federal health services to American Indian and Alaska Native peoples. The health services provided include medical, dental, and environmental health programs. The provision of health services to federally recognized Indians grew out of a special relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes. This government-to-government relationship is based on Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution and has been given form and substance by a number of treaties, laws, Supreme Court decisions, and executive orders.

The IHS comprises 12 regional administrative units called area offices, which are located in areas of highest Indian concentration. The area offices consist of 155 service ...

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