American Indian and Alaska Native Initiative

Construction workers on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Photo by NIOSH

Construction workers on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Photo by NIOSH

In 2013, NIOSH launched an initiative to partner with American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) communities, organizations, and other stakeholders to identify priority issues, conduct outreach, and determine how NIOSH could best provide occupational safety and health support to tribal communities. The main goal of the initiative is to build and strengthen tribal occupational safety and health capacity to ensure workers make it home safely and healthily to their families and communities every day. All activities are coordinated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS).

As sovereign nations, AI/AN tribes maintain a government-to-government relationship with the United States. There are currently 567 federally recognized tribes across the U.S.[1] Over 5.4 million AI/AN live across the United States, comprising about 2 percent of the population.[2] Twenty-two percent of AI/AN live on reservations.[2] 

AI/AN workers account for 2.7 million or 1.8% of the total U.S. workforce.[3]  These workers are employed in a wide variety of occupations with the highest numbers in office and administrative support, sales and related occupations, management, transportation and material moving, and food preparation and serving.[3] Many workers are also employed through tribal enterprises such as medical care, housing, manufactured products, food production, livestock, and tourism. Tribes are often the largest employer in the community.

Page last reviewed: March 28, 2019, 09:45 AM