Aaron Payment Re-elected NCAI 1st VP

Aaron Payment was re-elected to another two-year term as NCAI 1st Vice President.

Published October 26, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Aaron Payment, the chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the largest American Indian tribe east of the Mississippi River, likes to tell people he is a high school dropout, who lied to get his GED and then went on to earn several degrees, including three master degrees and a doctorate. His educational acheivements are being put to tremendous utilization at a national level to benefit Indian Country.

On Thursday, Payment beat out three opponents to be re-elected to serve as the 1st Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) at the organization’s 76th Annual Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. NCAI is the nation’s oldest and largest American Indian organization.

Payment has represented Indian Country in several capacities, including five meetings at the White House and making testimony 25 times in front of various Congressional committees on Capitol Hill. As a strong advocate for Indian Country, Payment believes NCAI must remain non-partisan in its approach to furthering the goal to improve lives of Native people.

Payment was first elected at NCAI as the Midwest Regional Vice President, then as Secretary, then as First Vice President, now for his second term.

“I am honored to continue to fight for my tribe, Michigan tribes, Midwest tribes and all tribes across Indian Country. My work here allows access to the best policy information regarding our people such that the need for lobbyists is reduced or eliminated,” says Payment.

Chairperson Payment serves American Indian interests at all levels including as chair of the Inter Tribal Council of Michigan, President of the United Tribes of Michigan and as VP for the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes. In August 2015, he was named to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education by President Obama.

Aaron Payment being interviewed during Monday’s Native America Calling radio program in Alburquerque, New Mexico. Native News Online photographs by Levi Rickert

NCAI’s highest seat of President of the Executive Committee went to Fawn Sharp from the Quinault Indian Nation, located in Washington State. The Treasurer seat went to Clinton Lageson from the Kenaitze Indian Tribe and Juana Majel Dixon of the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians, was re-elected to her seat as NCAI’s Recording Secretary.
Additionally, the Regional Vice President elections produced remarkable results with a historic number of women taking seats in their regions. For a full list of the 12 Regional Vice Presidents and Regional Vice President Alternates please visit the NCAI Executive Committee page.

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