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NEW ORLEANS — Pechanga Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro, 60, was elected president of the National Congress of American Indians today at the 80th Annual Convention and Marketplace at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center convening in New Orleans.

Long lines weaved through the third floor of the convention center early Thursday morning as voting took place before the opening of the general session at 8:30 a.m.

Macarro, who has served as tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians located in Temecula California, since 1992 defeated his opponents Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah and Marshall Pierite, chairman of  the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana.the 

Macaroo received 50.31 percent of the vote and was duly elected. The announcment came shortly after 11 am during thhue general assembly session on today.

Macarro also serves as the Pacific delegate on the Indian Gaming Association’s board of directors. Macarro has held other important positions in his home state of California. He has served on the California Workforce Investment Act Board. chairman of the Riverside County Sheriff Native American Affairs Commission, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors appointee to the County Historical Commission. Macarro was also elected to the board of directors of Borrego Springs Bank, NA. and was a charter member and chairman of the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS).

Macarro’s approach to governing the Pechanga Tribe for the past 28 years has been to strengthen tribal sovereignty, self-determination, and economic self-sufficiency while preserving the tribe’s cultural heritage.

Macarro’s academic background includes a B.A. in Political Science, and he has been honored with numerous awards for his unwavering support of Native American communities.

Macarro is now tasked with moving NCAI, the United States’ largest Native American national organization beyond its 80th year of existence.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].