Internships / Fellowships

NCAI is committed to investing in the next generation of leaders to protect and enhance tribal sovereignty for generations to come. Young Native leaders are invited to apply for either our internship or the Wilma Mankiller Fellowship. The application can be completed here. Please submit your resume to 

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Jamie Gomez at

2016 Application Details and Deadlines

Our deadlines for 2016 applications are as follows:

Wilma Mankiller Fellowship – Applications due March 15 with decisions made no later than April 15.
Summer 2016 Internship – Applications will be accepted until March 31 with decisions made no later than April 30.
Fall 2016 Internship – Applications will be accepted on a rolling application process. 

Wilma Mankiller Fellowship Program for Tribal Policy and Governance

For more than a decade, NCAI’s Fellows Program has provided the opportunity for bright young Native leaders to gain experience in policy advocacy, applied research, communications and development, and an array of other aspects of NCAI’s work to make a difference in Indian Country. This unique 11-month program has served over 30 young people, helping to provide young professionals with the tools and networks to take the next step into influential careers in Indian Country advocacy in the government, business, private, and civic sectors. Fellows work on a wide range of issues across all of the organization’s departments, ranging from telecommunications and juvenile justice to cultural property protections and education policy.

The NCAI Fellows Program has evolved significantly over the past few years as the profile of the fellowship has grown. In addition to a growing reputation and exponential increase in the number of applicants, in 2011, the NCAI Fellows Program was renamed in honor of Wilma Mankiller (the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation) and her outstanding contribution to Indian Country and tribal relations with other sovereign nations.

Selected fellows will begin in June with exceptions made for significant circumstances. NCAI reserves the right to offer a second-year fellowship to select Fellows based on exceptional performance, organizational need and available funding.

Specific duties for each intern or fellow will vary, depending on the nature of the legislative issues being addressed, the experience each brings to the position, and the individual working style of the staff team they work with. Fellows receive a stipend to cover living expenses while they serve at NCAI.

NCAI’s Internship Program

An internship with NCAI offers a unique opportunity for young leaders from throughout Indian Country—as well as for other young leaders with an interest in Native affairs, to be on the front lines of legislative action and policy development from within the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization.

In order to ensure opportunities for participation by the wealth of emerging young talent in Indian Country, NCAI invites students enrolled in institutions of higher learning to apply for semester or summer-long internships (for which most institutions will offer college credit), with up to four applicants selected for each term. Please note, a tribal affiliation is not required to be approved for an internship.

Specific Opportunities

The NCAI Fellowship and Internship programs include opportunities to develop policy analysis, communication, and advocacy skills. Each individual will work directly with an NCAI team and will be considered a full-time member of the NCAI staff for the duration of his/her appointment. Specific duties will vary, depending on the nature of the issues being addressed by NCAI and the interests and experience each person brings to the position. Current opportunities include the following:


The individual will attend committee hearings and meetings of coalitions and interest groups that work on topics related to NCAI priorities; track legislation of concern to tribal nations; communicate with Congressional offices; contact NCAI member tribes and supporters when key legislative activity arises; respond to general information inquiries as requested; prepare legislative updates; and perform additional duties to support NCAI's work.


The individual will gather a variety of perspectives on policies affecting Indian Country by attending policy forums, and surveying opinion by email and phone; read and summarize a wide variety of materials related to assigned areas (government documents, applied research, news media, etc.); participate in the development of one-pagers, white papers, articles for print and electronic publications, and other background documents in the assigned areas of work.


The individual will help NCAI reach new audiences through new media and online tools; assist with Web sites, newsletters, and media outreach; edit video and audio recordings; maintain and expand the organization’s media and photo library; monitor developing news items and media opportunities; assist with the development of communications tool kits and resources for staff, members, and the general public.


The individual will conduct outreach to government and private funders to identify potential investors in our work; plan and coordinate events to highlight the work of NCAI; work with NCAI staff to prepare letters of inquiry and grant proposals to secure funding for the organization; support existing grant activities to ensure deliverables are met.

Ready to Apply?

Applications for internships are accepted on a rolling basis with set deadlines throughout the year. Applications for the 2016 fellowship are due March 15, 2016. The application form can be completed here. Please submit your resume to