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National
NCAI kicks off annual convention in Denver


National Congress of American Indians
The National Congress of American Indians is holding its 64th annual conference in Denver, Colorado, this week.

The conference theme is "64 Years: From Emerging Voice to Unifying Force." NCAI held its first meeting in Denver in 1944 and is going back this year "where it all began," said President Joe Garcia.

"A handful of tribal leaders gathered to fight assimilation and termination and now we carry on their work by promoting tribal sovereignty, strengthening our government-to-government relationships with the U.S. government, and working tirelessly so that Native people can have better lives," said Garcia.

Speakers this year include Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colorado), Rep. Diana L. DeGette (D-Colorado), Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) and Judge Robert H. Henry of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Federal officials, including assistant secretary Carl Artman, acting Indian Health Service director Robert McSwain and FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison, are also on the agenda.

On Monday, NCAI will roll out its Native Vote 2008 campaign. Native veterans will also be honored.

Breakout sessions on law enforcement, trust and other topics will be held on Tuesday. A cultural presentation takes places in the evening.

On Wednesday, NCAI will take nominations for president, first vice president, treasurer and secretary. The Healthy Lifestyles Walk/Run for a Meth Free Indian Country takes place at noon and will be followed by a press conference to unveil the Native Anti-Meth Ad Campaign.

NCAI elections will be held on Thursday, when the conference ends. The gala will be held in the evening.

Relevant Links:
National Congress of American Indians - http://www.ncai.org