WASHINGTON — For the first time in its history, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is hosting its conference virtually this week. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the public health crisis of 2020, leaders of the largest national American Indian organization decided it was in the best health and safety interests of those who normally attend NCAI that the event be held virtually.

The National Congress of American Indians’ 77th Annual Convention & Marketplace: Truth & Reconciliation kicked off in a fully virtual setting on Monday afternoon. The virtual convention will run through Nov. 13.

During Monday afternoon’s sessions, NCAI President Fawn Sharp, who is also president of the Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Wash., and NCAI CEO Kevin Allis (Forest County Potawatomi) addressed the convention with updates.

Sharp discussed how the Covid-19 pandemic hit Indian Country hard, but the health crisis would not stop Native communities from coming together to meet about its future.

A surprise came when Allis told the convention he was leaving NCAI in about two months. He did not specify the exact date he would be leaving but would work with the NCAI staff to ensure a smooth transition.

Allis has been in his post for 18 months. He assumed the position in June 2019, taking over after Jacqueline Pata, the previous executive director (the title was changed upon hiring Allis), served NCAI for 18 years.

“Having the opportunity to serve Indian Country in this capacity has been the job of a lifetime. It has been an honor to work alongside the talented staff at NCAI on behalf of tribal nations. I've been here since June 2019, a year and a half. And my vision here was to get the organization to a place where it was financially strong, internally solid, the infrastructure sound, the work environment comfortable, and the output amazing,” Allis said during his remarks.

“We have made it to where we needed to go. And now it's time to pass the torch to a new executive officer that will take what we've built in the last 18 months and take it even further. I'm going to be transitioning out of NCAI over the course of the next couple of months,” said Allis.

“During his tenure as NCAI’s first CEO, Kevin played an integral role in advancing the interests of tribal nations in Washington, D.C. and throughout Indian Country,” Sharp commented, adding, “NCAI wishes Kevin well in his future endeavors and thanks him for his service.”

Prior to coming to NCAI, Allis’s previous roles include executive director of the Native American Contractors Association, board chairman of the Potawatomi Business Development Corporation, and founder of Thunderbird Strategies, LLC, a government relations firm specializing in advocacy of Native American rights. He is also an attorney and former law enforcement officer who served the Baltimore Police Department for eight years.

As NCAI celebrates 77 years of serving the broad interests of tribal nations, this year’s Annual Convention theme, “Truth and Reconciliation,” explores the current state of tribal sovereignty and affirms the commitment of tribal nations to use this forum to forge and advance critical priorities in a unified way, with the ultimate goal of ensuring true government-to-government relationships with the United States.

This convention features a robust mix of General Assembly presentations, breakout sessions, subcommittee and committee deliberations, cultural events, receptions, and more.

More Stories Like This

Former Gov. Bill Richardson Promotes High-tech Jobs at Navajo Technical University; Donates 200 pairs of Nike Shoes to Crownpoint Students
Navajo Nation to Utilize Drones to Deliver Critical Supplies to Community
Teddy Roosevelt Statue Removed from American Museum of Natural History--In the Middle of the Night
EXCLUSIVE: Special Assistant to the President on Native Affairs at the White House Libby Washburn on Biden’s First Year in Office
Smithsonian Names New Director of National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center, & the Cultural Resources Center in Maryland

The truth about Indian Boarding Schools

This month, we’re asking our readers to help us raise $10,000 to fund our year-long journalism initiative called “The Indian Boarding School Project: A Dark Chapter in History.”  Our mission is to shine a light on the dark era of forced assimilation of native American children by the U.S. government and churches.  You’ll be able to read stories each week and join us for Livestream events to understand what the Indian Boarding School era has meant to Native Americans — and what it still means today.

This news will be provided free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts.  Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.