Tribal Affairs

The work of First Things First is rooted in a profound respect for tribal sovereignty and a commitment to working in collaboration with Arizona’s tribes to ensure that young children entering school in tribal communities are healthy and ready to succeed.



Partnership with Arizona’s Indian Tribes and Nations

The statute that created First Things First empowers Arizona's Federally Recognized Tribes to decide how they would like to participate in the regional structure of First Things First. Tribes can elect to have their lands designated as a separate regional partnership council – a tribal region – or they can elect to participate in the designated FTF region or regions in which their tribal lands are located – FTF regions affiliated with Tribes. First Things First acknowledges self-governance as expressed by the right of Arizona Tribes to make their own determination whether or not to become their own FTF region. Nineteen Arizona Tribes have elected to participate in First Things First. In addition, every First Things First regional partnership council whose designated geographic area includes Tribal lands must have at least one Tribal representative.

Strategies funded in tribal communities include:

  • Family support, including home visitation programs for parents with newborns;
  • Early language and literacy development, including native languages;
  • Nutrition assistance and obesity prevention;
  • Health screenings and outreach about health insurance; and,
  • Several programs aimed at improving the quality of early education environments, including scholarships to enhance the professional skills of teachers working with the youngest tribal children.


Tribal Regions

Tribes who have elected to have their tribal lands treated as a separate region by the First Things First Board are:


Regions Affiliated With Tribes

Tribes who have elected to participate in the designated FTF region or regions in which their tribal lands are located:

  • Coconino including Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe & Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians
  • Gila including Tonto Apache Tribe
  • La Paz/Mohave including Fort Mojave Indian Tribe
  • East Maricopa including Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
  • Pinal including Ak-Chin Indian Community
  • Yavapai including Yavapai-Apache Nation
  • Yuma including Quechan Tribe



Tribal Consultation

First Things First acknowledges the rich cultural diversity of Arizona’s twenty-two federally recognized tribes and recognizes that Indian tribes must have a strong voice in shaping the policies and programming that affect their communities. First Things First believes that improving communication and partnerships with Indian tribes of Arizona is essential to providing all of Arizona’s children a solid start so they can grow up ready to succeed in school and life. To that end, First Things First is committed to operating within a government-to-government relationship with federally recognized Indian Tribes of Arizona. In order to achieve this goal, it is essential that First Things First and Arizona tribes engage in open, continuous and meaningful consultation on a government-to-government basis.



Tribal Affairs at First Things First

Tribal Affairs is an integral component of First Things First. Candida Hunter, our senior director of tribal affairs, serves as a link to tribal governments, Indian organizations, the general public and FTF staff. She can be contacted at 602.771.5034 or