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NCAI kicks off annual meeting in Sacramento

An estimated 2,000 people representing 120 tribes are in Sacramento this week for the National Congress of American Indians 63rd annual conference.

In the morning, attendees heard from Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York), Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado). A panel in the afternoon discussed efforts to settle the Cobell trust fund case.

Campbell touted the Native Vote 2006 initiative and said Native Americans need to exercise their rights. Kempthrone said he is launching a new anti-methamphetamine project aimed at beefing up law enforcement on reservations.

The speakers on the Cobell panel -- two Senate staffers, one lawyer and one tribal leader -- all attribute delay in settlement to the Bush administration. They indicated a deal was unlikely by the end of this year.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, delivered a video message and said the White House is behind the latest delay.

The conference continues today with updates on law enforcement, the federal courts and tribal courts. The afternoon will be dedicated to breakout sessions on a wide variety of topics.

The meeting concludes on Friday.

Get the Story:
Indian nations rebuilding (The Sacramento Bee 10/3)
Nation's tribes hold convention in Sacramento (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 10/3)
Wealthy Casinos Give Indians Powerful Political Voice (KFSN 10/2)

Relevant Links:
National Congress of American Indians -

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