US

Arizona policy simplifies process for tribal members born before 1970 to get birth certificate

  • In this Oct. 15, 2014, photo, Alice Guy, left, and her husband, Claude Guy, center, get advice from Coconino County health worker Matilda Perdue, right, for obtaining a birth certificate in Tuba City, Ariz. The Arizona Department of Health Services has made the process easier for tribal members who were born before 1970. Tribal members no longer are required to have a witness testify to their birth. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

    In this Oct. 15, 2014, photo, Alice Guy, left, and her husband, Claude Guy, center, get advice from Coconino County health worker Matilda Perdue, right, for obtaining a birth certificate in Tuba City, Ariz. The Arizona Department of Health Services has made the process easier for tribal members who were born before 1970. Tribal members no longer are required to have a witness testify to their birth. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)  (The Associated Press)

  • This Oct. 15, 2014, photo shows Helene Nockideneh outside a Tuba City, Ariz., office after completing her application for a delayed birth certificate. The Arizona Department of Health Services has made the process easier for tribal members who were born before 1970. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

    This Oct. 15, 2014, photo shows Helene Nockideneh outside a Tuba City, Ariz., office after completing her application for a delayed birth certificate. The Arizona Department of Health Services has made the process easier for tribal members who were born before 1970. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)  (The Associated Press)

Tribal members around Arizona are taking advantage of a new state policy that makes it easier to get a birth certificate for the first time later in life.

The Arizona Department of Health Services is now accepting tribal enrollment documents, along with another document that contains the same information, such a person's date and place of birth.

Tribal members no longer are required to have a witness testify to their birth.

Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler says she approached state and tribal officials about the issue after hearing stories of people getting frustrated with the process and giving up. She says many older tribal members were born at home but now need birth certificates for passports and retirement benefits.

The policy applies to tribal members born before 1970, but it's not permanent. State lawmakers are seeking to incorporate it into law.