NCAI hold 71st convention one week before U.S. midterm elections


Last updated 12/2/2014 at 8:21pm

With the 2014 election only a week away, the National Congress of American Indians opened its 71st annual convention on October 27, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The event drew thousands to an urban area not necessarily known for its Indian connections. But tribes from the South and Eastern regions provided a warm welcome to delegates as they prepared to hear from government officials on housing, education, health and other issues.

The opening day agenda included Jodi Gillette, the Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs at the White House; Gina McCarthy, the administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency; Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Yvette Roubideaux, the director of the Indian Health Service; and Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro delivered a message via video.

Tuesday’s highlights included Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and a breakout session on the Blueprint for Reform at the Bureau of Indian Education. Tribal leaders also held an open discussion about their priorities for the next five years.

On Wednesday, the focus turned to youth with the First Kids 1st Initiative, a task force comprised of NCAI, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, United National Indian Tribal Youth and other organizations. The effort helps support the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative at the White House.

On Thursday, tribal leaders heard reports on gaming, housing, education, the Indian Child Welfare Act, health, the Native vote and litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court.

A gala banquet took place Thursday night and the convention concluded on Friday, October 31.


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