Indianz.Com > News > National Congress of American Indians hires Geoffrey Blackwell for key role
Geoffrey Blackwell
Geoffrey Blackwell. Photo: New America
National Congress of American Indians hires Geoffrey Blackwell for key post
Monday, October 2, 2023

The National Congress of American Indians, the nation’s largest inter-tribal advocacy organization, has a new general counsel and a new chief of staff.

Geoffrey Blackwell, who is Chickasaw, Choctaw, Omaha, and Muscogee Creek, will serve both positions, NCAI announced last Thursday. He comes to the organization following eight years as chief strategy officer and general counsel for AMERIND, the tribally-owned insurance provider, and as the founding chief of the Office of Native Affairs and Policy at the Federal Communications Commission.

“We are thrilled to welcome Geoffrey Blackwell to NCAI,” said NCAI Executive Director Larry Wright, Jr., a citizen and former chairman of the Ponca Tribe in Nebraska.

“His extensive expertise in federal Indian law and policy, coupled with his deep-rooted commitment to serving Tribal Nations, make him an invaluable addition to our leadership team,” Wright continued. “With him at the helm of our legal efforts and as chief of staff, we are confident in our ongoing advocacy for Tribal Nations.”

Blackwell, who received his juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law, is only the second Native person to serve as general counsel at NCAI, which was founded in 1944. The first was Derrick Beetso, a citizen of the Navajo Nation who was ousted under unusual circumstances in 2021 by a former executive who later lost his job in 2022 and is now suing the organization in the District of Columbia, where NCAI is based.

As for the chief of staff, the position was previously held by Jamie Gomez, a citizen of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. She had worked for NCAI for more than 20 years prior to her departure in 2021.

NCAI is preparing for its 80th annual convention, which takes place November 12-17 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The event will see the election of new leadership for the organization, including the position of president.