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National Congress of American Indians Executive Council Winter Session
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National Congress of American Indians hosts winter meeting
Monday, February 14, 2022

The National Congress of American Indians will be hearing from top Biden administration officials and key members of Congress at its winter meeting.

The executive council winter session is usually held in the nation’s capital. But this year’s event is taking place virtually due to COVID-19.

“While we are disappointed that we are unable to come together in Washington, D.C. during this time, our priority is the health and wellness of Indian Country,” NCAI President Fawn Sharp said in a letter to tribal leaders last month, as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus began sweeping the nation.

Sharp will open the winter meeting with the State of Indian Nations. In the speech, her third as president of NCAI, she will outline the goals of tribal leaders, explore opportunities for the advancement of Native peoples, and set the tone for Indian Country’s agenda.

And for the first time, Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas), a citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation, will be taking part in the speech. As one of the four tribally-enrolled citizens in the U.S. House of Representatives, she will deliver a response to the State of Indian Nations from a Congressional perspective.

Also, for the first time, Native youth leaders are taking part. NCAI Youth Commission Officers Jonathan Arakawa, Jessica Lambert and Simon Friday are set to deliver remarks and help field questions from the media.

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State of Indian Nations

Executive Council Winter Session Part 1

Executive Council Winter Session Part 2

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The winter session takes place throughout the afternoon. On the executive branch side, attendees will hear from Secretary Deb Haaland, who is the first Native person to lead the Department of the Interior, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who runs the Department of Justice.

Several top leaders in Congress are also taking part. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), the Speaker of the House, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate, are providing short addresses to NCAI.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will also be on hand to discuss the introduction of a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. They will be joined by key legislative staffers as the meeting winds down later in the afternoon.

Highlights from the winter session agenda [PDF] follows. All times are in Eastern, and are approximate.

12pm-1pm – State of Indian Nations

1:30pm – Call to Order and Welcome

1:40pm – Secretary Deb Haaland, Department of the Interior

2:00pm – Attorney General Merrick Garland, Department of Justice

2:30pm – Assistant Secretary Bryan Newland, Department of the Interior

2:45pm – Assistant Secretary Michael Connor, Army for Civil Works, U.S. Army

3:00pm – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (California)

3:03pm – Senate Majority Leader, Chuck E. Schumer (New York)

3:06pm – Stacy Bohlen, CEO, National Indian Health Board

3:25pm – Congressional Fireside Chat: Protecting Tribal Lands and Supporting Tribal Economies
With Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)

3:55pm – VAWA: Empowering Tribal Nations and Promoting Public Safety
With Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and staff from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

4:50pm – NCAI Membership Update

5pm – Closing

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