What is the National Congress of the American Indian?

NCAI is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.

There are several organizations that work with tribal governments throughout the United States but one that Michigan State University Extension wanted to spotlight. The National Congress of the American Indian (NCAI) has been working with Tribal Nations since 1944. NCAI is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. The purpose of NCAI is to ensure that tribal nations and their residents continue to have a unified voice.

For a tribal nation to be a member of NCAI each tribe must pass a resolution stating that they will select an official delegate to attend the NCAI Executive Council, Mid-Year Conference, and Annual Convention. During each of these meetings the delegates engage in discussion regarding current issues and pressing matters that affect each of their nations on an individual basis but also Indian country as a whole. It is also the role and responsibility of each delegate to vote and pass resolutions to determine NCAI’s stance on any given issue.

There are three main initiatives that NCAI coordinates to assist in addressing the needs of tribal nations:

  • Policy Research Center—Provides tribal leaders with the best available knowledge to make strategically proactive policy decisions in a framework of native wisdom.
  • Partnerships & Initiatives—Knowledge of our members and our organization with the power of direct and on-the-ground efforts in tribal communities, coalition efforts, and national education and information campaigns.
  • Campaigns—Engages in national- and issue-focused educational and information.

NCAI has also designated specialized projects which include the coverage of policy issues in the areas of:

  • Community & Culture
  • Economic Development & Commerce
  • Education, Health & Human Services
  • Land & Natural Resources
  • Tribal Governance

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