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Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs)


Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) are non-profit entities that serve the healthcare and social service needs of American Indian and Alaska Native individuals living in urban areas. They aim to improve access to culturally appropriate healthcare services and support for urban Native communities. UIOs are funded through the Indian Health Service under the U.S. federal government.

Key Takeaways

  1. Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) serve as a critical bridge between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the urban Native American communities, ensuring access to healthcare, education, and other benefits and resources for veterans.
  2. UIOs are non-profit corporations, primarily funded by the Indian Health Service (IHS), that offer culturally appropriate health and social services to American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban areas outside of tribal reservations.
  3. Collaboration between the VA and UIOs plays a significant role in addressing the unique challenges and needs faced by Native American veterans living in urban settings, ultimately promoting their overall well-being and self-sufficiency.


The term “Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs)” is important within the context of VA benefits, as it highlights a specific category of organizations dedicated to supporting Native American veterans residing in urban or non-reservation areas.

UIOs are federally recognized non-profit entities that deliver health, cultural, educational, and social services to these veterans, helping them access and navigate the resources available to them.

By acknowledging the unique challenges faced by urban Native American veterans, the focus on UIOs underscores the need for targeted support systems and efforts to provide equitable access to services, particularly as urban Native Americans may be disconnected from tribal communities and resources.

Including UIOs within the broader framework of VA benefits ensures that Native American veterans in urban settings also receive the assistance they need to achieve improved health, well-being, and quality of life.


Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) serve a critical role in the lives of the American Indian and Alaska Native communities residing in urban areas. The primary purpose of these organizations is to ensure that Urban Native communities have access to essential health care, social services, education services, and cultural programs.

Traditionally, these individuals may have had limited access to such services and resources due to living off reservations or away from tribal lands. UIOs bridge this gap, striving towards fostering healthy Urban Native populations and maintaining strong connections to their cultural heritage.

Additionally, UIOs play an instrumental role in addressing health disparities experienced by Urban Native populations. They work collaboratively with the federal government, tribal entities, and local partners to design and implement targeted health care programs to cater to the unique needs and challenges faced by Urban Native communities.

Through their efforts, Urban Indian Organizations contribute to the enhancement of overall well-being, quality of life, and self-sufficiency among American Indian and Alaska Native populations living in urban areas, supporting them with holistic services that nurture their mind, body, and spirit.

Examples of Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs)

Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) are non-profit organizations that aim to support the needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban areas and promote their general welfare. Here are three real-world examples of Urban Indian Organizations:

Native American Health Center (NAHC): Based in California, the Native American Health Center serves Native Americans and other community members living in the San Francisco Bay Area. They provide comprehensive health services, including medical, dental, and mental health care, as well as assistance with housing, education, and job training. Website: https://www.nativehealth.org/

Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB): The Seattle Indian Health Board offers medical, dental, behavioral health, and other support services to Native Americans and Alaska Natives residing in the Seattle and King County area in Washington State. They are committed to improving the health and well-being of their community members and providing culturally competent care. Website: https://www.sihb.org/

American Indian Center (AIC): Located in Chicago, Illinois, the American Indian Center aims to foster cultural understanding and promote the well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives living in the urban setting of Chicago. The AIC offers a range of programs and services, such as educational programs, cultural events, advocacy, and community-based initiatives.Website: http://www.aicchicago.org/

FAQ: Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs)

1. What are Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs)?

Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) are non-profit organizations that serve the American Indian and Alaska Native populations living in urban areas. They help provide culturally appropriate healthcare services, education, and resources to improve the overall well-being of urban Native communities.

2. What services do UIOs provide?

UIOs offer a wide range of services, including primary healthcare services, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, referral services, health education, and cultural preservation programs. Additionally, they facilitate access to a wide array of community-based programs and services for Native Americans and their families.

3. How do I find a UIO near me?

You can locate the nearest UIO by visiting the Indian Health Service (IHS) Urban Indian Health Program website. The website provides a comprehensive list of UIOs, including their contact information, addresses, and the services they offer.

4. Can non-Native individuals receive services at UIOs?

UIOs primarily serve American Indian and Alaska Native communities. However, some UIOs provide services to non-Native individuals, particularly if they are involved in a program that benefits the entire community. It is essential to contact a specific UIO to determine the services available to non-Native individuals.

5. How are UIOs funded?

UIOs receive funding from various sources, including the Indian Health Service, federal and state grants, and private foundations. The funding enables UIOs to provide crucial health and wellness services to Native Americans living in urban areas.

6. Why are UIOs necessary?

UIOs are essential because they help fill the gaps in healthcare services for American Indian and Alaska Native communities living in urban areas, who often face unique cultural, social, and economic challenges. UIOs work to improve health outcomes through culturally appropriate healthcare services and community-based programs that address the specific needs of urban Native Americans.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Native American healthcare services
  • Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • Tribal healthcare facilities
  • Cultural competence in medical care
  • Native American urban communities

Sources for More Information