NCAI celebrates anniversary of VAWA’s 2013 passage

By Cherokee Phoenix staff reports

WASHINGTON – The National Congress of American Indians marked the one-year anniversary of a great victory for tribal nations and Native women on March 7.

President Obama, joined by Vice President Biden, members of women’s organizations, law enforcement officials, tribal leaders, survivors, advocates and members of Congress, signs the Violence Against Women Act in March. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

President Obama, joined by Vice President Biden, members of women’s organizations, law enforcement officials, tribal leaders, survivors, advocates and members of Congress, signs the Violence Against Women Act in March. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

It was on that day in 2013 when President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. At the signing ceremony, the president underscored the “inherent right (of tribal governments) to protect their people.”

For the first time since the 1978 Oliphant decision, VAWA 2013 restored tribal authority to investigate, prosecute, convict and sentence non-Indians who assault their Indian spouses or partners in Indian Country. The law created a pilot project that enabled three tribes to recently begin exercising this authority.

“Today is a day to celebrate what we have achieved together and commit ourselves to ensure the ongoing success of this important law. It acknowledges that tribal nations are the best equipped to ensure public safety in our communities and provides the tools we need to protect Native women,” NCAI President Brian Cladoosby said.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington and the Umatilla Tribes of Oregon–began exercising special criminal jurisdiction over certain crimes of domestic and dating violence, regardless of the defendant’s Indian or non-Indian status in February.

“VAWA 2013 is a tremendous victory. I am grateful to those who have stepped up to take the lead in the implementation phase,” Terri Henry, Tribal Councilor of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and co-chair of the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women, said. “I want to congratulate the three tribes participating in the pilot project and remind everyone, we still have work to do.”

However, VAWA does not mark the end of the NCAI’s efforts to combat domestic violence in Indian Country, NCAI Executive Director Jackie Pata said. “Tribal nations remain steadfast in the important work of protecting our Native women and securing our communities,” she said.

Treasury issues tax guidance on per cap payments

Guidance Provides Significant Clarity, Incorporates Feedback from Tribal Nations

By US Treasury Media Release

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued interim guidance this week regarding per capita distributions made to members of Indian tribes from funds held in trust by the Secretary of the Interior.  In response to feedback from tribal nations, the guidance clarifies that, generally, these per capita payments will not be subject to federal income tax.

Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur will be speaking about the per capita guidance, tax-exempt bond options available to tribes, and other tribal tax initiatives during the National Congress of American Indians 2014 Executive Council Winter Session tomorrow.

“Today’s notice provides uniform, clear guidance regarding the tax treatment of per capita distributions of tribal trust assets,” said Assistant Secretary Mazur.  “This announcement and our ongoing tribal consultation process underscore the Administration’s commitment to understanding and addressing the issues facing the Native American community.”

The Department of the Interior is responsible for holding in trust certain funds on behalf of federally recognized Indian tribes.  Under the Per Capita Act of 1983, tribes are authorized to make per capita distributions from these trust accounts directly to tribal members subject to the approval of the Department of Interior.  In September 2012, Treasury and the IRS released guidance on per capita distributions from specific settlements, and have since received requests to address the tax treatment of per capita payments more broadly.

While developing this guidance, Treasury convened listening sessions and other consultations to facilitate a government-to-government dialogue between the federal government and tribes, and to understand key tribal concerns.

Treasury and IRS are issuing this notice as interim guidance to allow Indian tribes time to review and provide feedback by September 17, 2014.  Based on these comments, we will consider revisions before issuing a final notice.

For the Per Capita Distributions notice, click here.

Land Buy-Back Program: Strengthening our Nation-to-Nation Partnership

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

The following is a blog posted to the White House website, and cross-posted from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Last year, the Department of the Interior established the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations to implement important land consolidation requirements set forth in the historic Cobell Settlement Agreement. That agreement provided for a copy.9 billion fund to consolidate lands that have become fractionated, over time, across Indian country. By establishing the Buy-Back Program, the Department made a commitment to work together – with tribes and individual Indian land owners alike – to address the negative impacts of land fractionation in Indian country.

RELATED: Cobell Land Consolidation Plan to Cost $285 Million for Interior Department to Run

Fractionation of ownership affects more than 93,500 land tracts on more than 150 Indian reservations. These tracts often have hundreds, sometimes thousands, of owners that must each be consulted before even basic decisions can be made about use of land and resources.

Over the next 10 years, the Buy-Back Program will make purchase offers to willing sellers in an effort to make land more usable and prevent further fractionation. By doing this, Interior will help expand tribal economic development opportunities across Indian country, and, in turn, restore tribal control over tribal lands and resources in order to build towards true tribal self-determination and ultimately strengthened tribal sovereignty.

In our first year, the Department has focused on establishing the building blocks of program success. Nation-to-Nation conversations have been critical to this development, and have helped us make significant policy decisions about the Program. This past month, we released an Updated Implementation Plan, which incorporates suggestions and responds to comments received through multiple tribal consultations and one-on-one meetings.

We have heard from tribal leaders that we must implement the Buy-Back Program in a fair and equitable manner, moving quickly to ensure that we reach as much of Indian country as possible. Additionally, we sought independent analysis from The Appraisal Foundation, the nation’s foremost authority on appraisal standards to ensure a high quality valuation process would be used.

Tribes also expressed the need for predictability and transparency on the timing of implementation efforts. In response, the Department expanded its implementation strategy by opening up a solicitation period through March 2014, during which tribes with jurisdiction over the most fractionated locations are invited to submit letters of interest or cooperative agreement applications for participation in the program. This solicitation puts much of the timing in the hands of tribal governments and will allow the program to move on a quicker timeline.

And, in a historic step this week, Interior announced that the very first purchase offers have been sent. After working closely with Oglala Sioux leadership, landowners on the Pine Ridge Reservation – one of the most fractionated locations in the United States – will be receiving purchase offers this week. Individuals with interests at the Makah Indian Reservation will receive offers as well.

RELATED: Oglala Sioux First Tribe to Reach Agreement of Fractionated Lands

We know the challenge ahead is mighty, but we are working hard to ensure that this incredible opportunity for Indian country is not wasted. Change will not be implemented overnight, but ultimately the Program will restore lands to tribes and place decision-making over these lands back into the rightful hands of tribal governments. Our Nation-to Nation partnerships have been critical to the work that has gotten us to today and we look forward to our continued work together.

Kevin K. Washburn is the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior and a member of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma.



Native American travels across U.S. photographing citizens of tribal nations

Courtesy Matika WilburJenni Parker, right, and granddaughter Sharlyse Parker of the Northern Cheyenne tribe pose in Lame Deer, Mont., in August.

Courtesy Matika Wilbur
Jenni Parker, right, and granddaughter Sharlyse Parker of the Northern Cheyenne tribe pose in Lame Deer, Mont., in August.

By Simon Moya-Smith, Staff Writer, NBC News

She sleeps on couches, dines with strangers and lives out of her car. Still, Matika Wilbur does it for the art and for the people.

Wilbur is Native American. Invariably strapped to her arm is a camera, and other than a few provisions and clothing, she owns little else. Last year she sold everything in her Seattle apartment, packed a few essentials into her car and then hit the road.

Since then, she’s been embarking on her most recent project, “Project 562.”

The plan is to photograph citizens of each federally recognized tribe, Wilbur said. Sometimes she’ll journey to an isolated reservation, other times she’ll meet some of the 70 percent of Native Americans living in urban settings. Yet she hopes that when her project is complete it will serve to educate the nation and “shift the collective conscious” toward recognizing its indigenous communities.

To date, Wilbur has photographed citizens of 159 tribes.

In 2010, when Wilbur first conceptualized the campaign, there were 562 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., hence the name. Since then, the U.S. government has added four more nations to the list.

Courtesy Matika WilburNative American activist and poet John Trudell, left, and Son Coup of the Santee Sioux Nation pose for a photo in San Francisco, Calif., in July. 


The project all began three years ago when Wilbur photographed her elders from both of her tribes, the Swinomish and Tulalip. She soon decided it was not enough to photograph only her people. After raising $35,000 through, an online funding platform, she had enough to realize her project and zip across the country capturing the faces of this nation’s first peoples.

Wilbur said her project is aimed toward debunking the bevy of erroneous stereotypes surrounding Native American culture and society and to reiterate the continual presence of Native Americans.

“We are still here,” she said. “We remain.”

One of those stereotypes is the image of Indians clad in feathers, nearly naked running across the prairie, whooping it up like what’s oft portrayed in western cinema. Also the caricature image of Indians as mascots.

With that in mind, Wilbur said the project is meant to drive conversations about the ubiquitous appropriation of Native American culture and to discuss how U.S. citizens can evolve beyond the co-opting of indigenous images and traditions.

“I hope to educate these audiences that it’s not OK to dress up like an Indian on Halloween,” she said. “I’m not a Halloween costume. I hope to encourage a new conversation of sharing and to help us move beyond the stereotypes.”

Wilbur added that she hopes her photos — her craft — will display the “beauty of (Native) people and to introduce some of our leaders to a massive audience.”

Wilbur, 29, operates on a modest budget and relies heavily on the “generosity and kindness” of the people she meets when travelling throughout Indian country. Many of her photo subjects will host her overnight and provide her with meals.

Courtesy Matika WilburAnna Cook of the Swinomish and Hualapai tribes poses for a photo in Swinomish, Wash., earlier this month. 


“I come in a good way. I bring gifts. I interact with their children well. I behave myself. I walk the red road,” she said. “People believe in my project because they, too, have been affected by the stereotypical image and they want to see it change.”

In between shoots, or maybe over dinner, Wilbur will tape record her subjects as they impart their wisdom and life stories. She plans to transfer the files to an application, which will coincide the corresponding photos in a future exhibition.

In the last year, Wilbur has slept in her two-seater Honda only once or twice but, following a new fundraiser in January, she hopes to get a van to sleep in on those long nights out on the open road.

Wilbur said that the fact that there are newly recognized tribes is indicative of the progress Native Americans are making today and that she plans to photograph the four tribes as well as various others who haven’t been recognized by the federal government.

Currently, Native Americans make up 1.6 percent of the entire U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census.

On Oct. 31, President Barack Obama proclaimed November 2013 as Native American Heritage Month and designated Nov. 29, 2013 as Native American Heritage Day.

Wilbur’s previous work has been showcased across the U.S. and internationally at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada and the Fine Arts Museum of Nantes in France.

In May 2014, the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington will host an exhibition of Wilbur’s collection of photos. In the meantime, she says she’ll continue her project and “let it flow as the spirit moves it.”

Interior Expands Land Buy-Back Process Across Indian Country

Source: Department of the Interior

In Response to Tribal Consultation & Feedback, Buy-Back Program Announces Solicitation for Cooperative Agreement Applications from Tribes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of President Obama’s commitment to help strengthen Indian communities, and following nation-to-nation consultations with tribal leaders, the Department of the Interior is expanding the implementation strategy for the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program).

The move to engage a significant amount of tribal governments expands on the Department’s initial plan to launch pilot efforts with less than a dozen tribes, allows for a greater amount of engagement across Indian Country, and provides more flexibility and transparency for tribal governments. The cooperative agreements would make funds available to tribal governments to implement key aspects of the Buy-Back Program, such as owner outreach and education. Tribes have the opportunity to actively participate in the process, including identifying acquisition priorities, which will improve the program’s effectiveness and efficiency while minimizing administrative costs.

“This is a major step forward toward strengthening tribal sovereignty by supporting consolidation of tribal homelands,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “We are moving quickly to establish individualized cooperative agreements, which address the specific needs of each tribe and provide resources for tribal communities to implement the program. Although the task ahead is challenging, we have been given a historic opportunity to work together with Indian Country to meet this challenge.”

The Buy-Back Program was created to implement the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement. The Settlement provided for a $1.9 billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund (Fund) to consolidate fractional trust or restricted land interests across Indian Country. The Buy- Back Program allows interested individual owners to receive payments for voluntarily selling their land. All lands sold will immediately be held in trust for the tribe with jurisdiction.

Interior holds about 56 million acres in trust for American Indians. More than 10 million acres are held for individual American Indians and nearly 46 million acres are held for Indian tribes. The Department holds this land in more than 200,000 tracts, of which nearly 94,000 – on about 150 reservations – contain fractional ownership interests available for purchase by the Buy-Back Program.

This solicitation will expand the program implementation work already underway and requests tribes to work with Interior to determine the estimated schedule in which they wish to ultimately conduct outreach and engagement. An open solicitation period will be held through March 14, 2014, during which tribes with jurisdiction over these most fractionated locations are invited to submit letters of interest or cooperative agreement applications for participation in the program.

Additional solicitations will follow this initial period. Significant outreach, mapping and mineral evaluations are already occurring at many locations.

“We have heard from tribal leaders and individual landowners that they want predictability and transparency on the timing of implementation efforts,” said Kevin K. Washburn, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. “This open solicitation puts much of the timing in the hands of tribal governments and will allow the program to move on a quicker timeline.”

Implementation decisions will still rely on a number of factors, such as the severity of fractionation; degree of ownership overlap between tracts; geographic location to maximize efficiency and resources; appraisal complexity; and overall interest of the tribe as indicated by their cooperative agreement application.

More information on this solicitation is available here.

Outreach and tribal engagement will also continue with the tribes that represent the locations with the remaining 10 percent of fractionated lands. Flexible purchase ceilings will be used to protect against the risk of premature exhaustion of the available funds.

The program also released an Updated Implementation Plan today, which builds upon significant consultation and feedback from tribal nations over the past year. Updates outlined in the plan include a number of steps that tribal nations can take now to prepare for involvement in the Buy- Back Program. These steps include increasing owner awareness of the value and benefits of participation in the program and designating an authorized tribal point of contact to engage with the Program.

The Updated Implementation Plan can be found here.

CGI Chicago: Economic future of tribal nations is blowing in the wind

Tribal leaders stood on stage last week in Chicago, where the announcement of first-ever, historic wind energy initiative on Tribal land is expected to bring new life and livlihoods to chronicly impoverished reservations in South Dakota.

Tribal leaders stood on stage last week in Chicago, where the announcement of first-ever, historic wind energy initiative on Tribal land is expected to bring new life and livlihoods to chronicly impoverished reservations in South Dakota.

John Michael Spinelli, All Voices

Last week at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative, hosted by the City of Chicago, former President Bill Clinton and leaders from six Sioux Indian tribes announced a new wind-power initiative that will harness South Dakota’s greatest natural resource and spur long-term development in the economically depressed region.

Clinton Global Initiative America is an annual event that brings together leaders from the business, foundation and government sectors in an effort to promote economic growth in the United States. The tribes’ initiative comes at a time when renewable energy investment is increasingly a national priority. Through the project, the tribes stand to infuse up to $3 billion directly into the South Dakota economy, an amount roughly equal to the impact of the entire manufacturing sector in South Dakota in a given year.

The planned project could generate 1-2 Gigawatts of power annually. Measured conservatively, that’s more than enough power to electrify the homes in Denver, Colo., for the next 20 years, the typical useful life span of the wind turbines.

The majority of the project’s funding will come through the sale of bonds by a multi-tribal power authority. The bonds are expected to be available to investors in about two years, following a critical planning and preparation stage.

In separate but related news, Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes of the Interior for the Obama administration discussed efforts under way to implement a tribal land buy-back program with reporters on a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

Hayes was joined on the call by Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn, who provided details on the next phase of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program or BBP), including launching pilot efforts to establish cooperative agreements with tribal governments.

The buy-back program implements the land consolidation provisions of the $3.4 billion Cobell Settlement, which will funnel $1.9 billion into a trust land consolidation fund to consolidate fractional land interests across American Indian property. Background information from the Department of the Interior (DOI) said allotments of land provided individual American Indians in the 19th and early 20th centuries have grown to hundreds and even thousands of individual owners, which makes leasing or developing the parcels difficult.

The result, as former US Sen. Byron Dorgan of South Dakota confirmed in an exclusive interview with Allvoices following DOI’s earlier announcement, is that highly-fractionated allotments lie idle, unable to be used for any economically beneficial purpose.

As Dorgan, who now co-chairs the Arent Fox Government Relations practice and who helped negotiate the Cobell Settlement said, when one person in 2,000 or even 10,000 people can disagree, thereby killing any hope of affiliating land for purposes of economic development, moving forward is hard.

Hayes, who will be leaving DOI soon and said he was proud of his role in helping settle and implement the Cobell Settlement, told reporters that all legal questions have concluded as of last November and that opening the door to implementation now of the $1.5 billion of settlement funds for the BBP itself will be used to purchase fractionated interest so land is available for tribal use.

Historical problems caused the land to be locked up and unusable, but Hayes said 220,000 individual owners on 150 reservations will be impacted by Tuesday’s announcement. Based on fair compensation on a “willing seller basis,” Hayes said the federal government will turn land back over to the tribal nations.

From “government to government” is how Hayes phrased the new relationship between the US government and the six Native American tribes covered by the settlement, a level of respect tribal leaders have waited a long time to realize.

It will take 10 years to spend down the $1.9 billion in settlement funds, Hayes said, adding that it’s his expectation to initiate purchase offers by end of the year. Within the next three years or by the end of the Obama presidency, Hayes believes the BBP will be well on its way to spending down and returning millions of acres of land to tribal control.

The lawsuit and its settlement resolves claims that the federal government violated its trust duties to individual Indian trust beneficiaries, including not providing a proper historical accounting relating to IIM accounts and other trust assets, mismanaging individual Indian trust funds and violating its trust responsibilities for management of land, oil, natural gas, mineral, timber, grazing, and other resources.

Agreements with tribes for program administration has already begun, he said, adding that “we have heard Indian county and we must have support for tribal leaders” as we formalize agreements tribe by tribe. Part of the checks and balances system is providing an oversight board for the BBP to be chaired by DOI Secretary Sally Jewell, who Obama appointed to guide the agency during his second term.

Jewell replaces Ken Salazar, a former US Senator from Colorado, who guided DOI during Obama’s first term starting in 2009.

Hayes said regular meetings at the highest levels can be expected.

A feature of the Cobell Settlement was directed toward higher education scholarships. The settlement authorizes up to $60 million in scholarships for Indian students, to be administered by The American Indian College Fund. The money can be used at tribal colleges, vocational institutions and public and private universities. Twenty percent of the annual scholarships can be used for graduate studies.

The Cobell Settlement requires a board of trustees to oversee the scholarship fund. The Interior Department and the Cobell plaintiffs will each choose two members. The American Indian College Fund will choose one member.

Washburn said that if the systems are set up right from the beginning, there will be upfront advantages from advance planning and behind-the-scenes computer programs that will enable the effort to “move out methodically through a number of reservations.”

Giving a taste of the flavor, he said, shows how the program is gearing for the BBP. Washburn said staffing is up and that outside experts have been retained to assure we have the best program of appraising property as the basis for an offer. Third party groups, he said, are reviewing methodologies and making valid recommendations.

“Were a bunch of suits in Washington,” Washburn said. “We need tribal leaders” to engage when negotiating different agreement with each tribe to factor in their needs. He looked to having 10-12 tribes “on board, moving out from the train station” by the end of the year. Washburn likened the tribes to guinea pigs as sovereignty is returned the tribal nations.

Dorgan, who chaired the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, believes that while the wind energy project is not dependent on Tuesday’s announcement, it can only help it along.

He said in a phone conversation with Allvoices that it’s not needed for the Sioux Tribes of South Dakota’s wind power initiative. Helping to negotiate the Cobell Settlement, Dorgan said that while there is enough Tribal land available for the wind power initiative, the real resource of value isn’t buried below the ground, but blows above it.

“The government may own the minerals below the land, but the wind above it belongs to the tribes,” he said.

If you like to write about US politics, enter Allvoices’ “The American Pundit” political writing contest. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and Nov. 30. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded in December. If you do not already have a free account, sign up here.

The American Pundit on Twitter:

Allvoices on Twitter:

Allvoices on Facebook:


You can follow my reporting here at Allvoices or follow my reporting on Ohio people, politics and government at

Join me on Google+, Pinterest or Twitter and watch my YouTube “60 Second” videos.

John Michael Spinelli is based in Columbus, Ohio, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.

Indigenous Nations Call for Full and Effective Participation of Indigenous Nations in United Nations

In lead up to 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples tribal nations engage in global dialogue concerning the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


National Congress of American Indians

Washington, DC – Indigenous governments, including the tribal nations of North America, are seeking an official status within the United Nations in the lead up to the High Level Plenary to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) in New York City in September of 2014.

In late May of 2013 during the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City, more than 72 tribal nations and ten Indian and Native Hawaiian organizations – including NCAI, called on the UN to adopt rules to recognize the “regular and permanent status” of constitutional and customary Indigenous governments at the UN and become fully inclusive of all Indigenous governments. More specifically, the joint statement (download) made three recommendations for consideration leading up to the WCIP:

1)      That a new monitoring body be incorporated within the UN to help guide implementation of the Declaration by members states of the UN;

2)      That the UN take action to address the issue of violence against Indigenous women, including convening a high-level conference to discuss this matter, ensuring any monitoring mechanism of the Declaration pay particular attention to Article 22, and to appoint a Special Rapporteur with a specific focus on violence against Indigenous women and children; and

3)      That the UN take action to give constitutional and customary governments of Indigenous Peoples a dignified, permanent status within its processes, which acknowledges their rights as self-governing nations.

In a global meeting held last week in Alta, Norway, tribes continued to advocate that the UN adopt rules to recognize the “regular and permanent status” of constitutional and customary Indigenous governments at the UN and become fully inclusive of all Indigenous governments.

Currently, Indigenous governments have no official status in the UN.  Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are given a formal ‘consultative status” in UN processes and are relied upon in matters affecting Indigenous Peoples, while the elected or traditionally appointed governments of Indigenous Nations are often denied an active role in discussions affecting their people.

The global meeting in Alta was held to prepare for the UN’s High Level Plenary Meeting to be held in September 2014, and produced an Outcome Document (download) with recommendations for the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with input from 7 Indigenous caucuses from throughout the globe. Recommendation 2.10 states:

Pursuant to the universal application of the right of self-determination for all Peoples, recommends that the UN recognize Indigenous Peoples and Nations based on our original free existence, inherent sovereignty and the right to self-determination in international law.  We call for, at a minimum, permanent observer status within the UN system enabling our direct participation through our own governments and parliaments.  Our own governments include inter alia our traditional councils and authorities.

Participating in the Alta Meetings were – Chairman John Sirois, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation; Chief John Giesbrecht, Kwikwetlem First Nation; Chief Wilfred King, Gull Bay First Nation; and Dwight Witherspoon (Tribal Council Representative) and Leonard Gorman (Executive Director, Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission) on behalf of the Navajo Nation.

Frank Ettawageshik (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Executive Director, United Tribes of Michigan) also participated as an official delegate of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).

Statement of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI):

“The tribal nations that participated in these meetings helped continue the push for full and effective participation for Indigenous nations in the UN. NCAI has an NGO status with the UN, yet believes that tribes should be afforded their full and effective status, and is committed to acting as a resource for tribes wanting to participate in UN discussions. NCAI insists that Indigenous nations need an active, direct voice within the UN, especially considering that Indigenous nations remain at the forefront of the world’s most challenging issues – from climate change to poverty.  To recognize the autonomy of Indigenous governments and afford them a rightful seat at the table is a critical step to fully implementing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. NCAI is committed to providing technical assistance to tribes in making the push for each of these issues. Each of these recommendations remains a priority for Indigenous nations as we move forward toward the 2014 WCIP. “


About The National Congress of American Indians

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit