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National Congress of American Indians meets in Washington DC

The National Congress of American Indians holds its 2013 executive council winter session in Washington, D.C., this week.

Hundreds of tribal leaders are in the nation's capitol to discuss high-priority issues like the federal budget sequester, housing and education. They also will hear from members of Congress and officials from the Obama administration.

The meeting comes amid a number of notable developments in federal Indian policy. Since NCAI's 2012 session, tribes have seen the settling of dozens of trust fund lawsuits for more than $1 billion, the changing of the guard at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the re-election of President Barack Obama, a bill to recognize tribal sovereignty for disaster declarations and, most recently, the recognition of tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians in S.47, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

"In the spirit of the nation-to-nation relationship, and on the heels of the passage of the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act, tribal leaders will continue with a strong momentum to strengthen Indian Country, and America’s, future," NCAI said in an advisory about the meeting.

The session takes place at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday. Highlights of the agenda include:
Tuesday, March 5
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), the new co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus
Jodi Gillette, Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs at the White House
Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma)

Wednesday, March 6
Ray LaHood, Secretary, Department of Transportation
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Richard A. Levie, the special master for the Cobell trust fund settlement
Yvette Roubideaux, Director of the Indian Health Service

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