The NCAI Constitution, By-Laws, and Standing Rules of Order are the governing rules for the National Congress of American Indians. Read the full text of the document.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ARTICLE I - NAME
ARTICLE II- MEMBERSHIP
ARTICLE III- EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
ARTICLE IV- EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
ARTICLE V- MEMBERSHIP DUES
ARTICLE VI- POLITICAL ACTIVITY
ARTICLE VII- AMENDMENTS TO CONSTITUTION
CERTIFICATE OF ADOPTION
ARTICLE I- NAME
ARTICLE II- PURPOSE
ARTICLE III- MEMBERS
ARTICLE IV- OFFICERS
ARTICLE V- MEETINGS
ARTICLE VI- EXECUTIVE COUNCIL/EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
ARTICLE VII- COMMITTEES
ARTICLE VIII- ADMISSION OF MEMBERS
ARTICLE IX- SOLICIATION OF MEMBERS
ARTICLE X- RULES OF ORDER
ARTICLE XI- AMENDMENTS OF BY-LAWS
CERTIFICATE OF ADOPTION
SECTION I- REGISTRATION
SECTION II- QUORUM
SECTION III- ROLL CALLS
SECTION IV- VOTING
SECTION V- ELECTION OF OFFICERS
SECTION VI- RULES OF ORDER
SECTION VII- BUSINESS CYCLE
SECTION VIII- PARLIAMENTARIAN, SARGENT-ARMS
SECTION IX- CALL TO ORDER
SECTION X- ADOPTION OF AGENDA
SECTION XI- ASSEMBLY CHAIRMAN
SECTION XII- MOTIONS
SECTION XIII- RESOLUTIONS
SECTION XIV- DEBATE
SECTION XV- COMMITTEES
SECTION XVI- RECORDING OF MINUTES
SECTION XVII- SUSPENSION OF THE RULES
SECTION XVIII- BUDGET
SECTION XIX- ACTION BEFORE ASSEMBLIES
SECTION XX- EXECUTIVE COUNCIL CONFERENCE
SECTION XXI- MID-YEAR CONVENTION
SECTION XXII- RULE AMENDMENTS
NCAI membership is made up of tribes and individuals who have met the eligibility criteria and the payment of dues as outlined in Article III of the NCAI By-Laws.
Membership shall be of four classes:
1. Tribal Membership
Any tribe, band or identifiable group of American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts shall be eligible for tribal membership provided it shall fulfill all of the following requirements:
a. A substantial number of its members reside upon the same reservation, or (in the absence of a reservation) in the same general locality;
b. It maintains a tribal organization, with regular officers and the means of transacting business and arriving at a reasonably accurate count of its membership;
c. It is not a mere offshoot or fraction of an organized tribe itself eligible for membership; and,
d. It is recognized as a tribe, or other identifiable group of American Indians by the Department of the Interior, Court of Claims, the Indian Claims Commission, or a State. An Indian or Alaska Native organization incorporated/chartered under state law is not eligible for tribal membership.
2. Indian Individual Membership
Any person of Indian and/or Alaska Native ancestry in the United States or a native of Alaska is eligible for individual membership. For the purpose recognized as a member by an Indian tribe, or combination of tribes and bands recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Indian Claims Commission, Court of Claims, or a State.
3. Individual Associate Membership
Non-Indian applicants may be admitted to non-voting associate membership upon the payment of annual dues as fixed by the By-Laws.
4. Organization Associate Membership
Organizations may be admitted to non-voting associate membership upon the payment of annual dues as fixed by the By-Laws.
No individual or organization with known subversive activities or affiliation shall be admitted to membership, nor shall their contributions be accepted.
Vacancies and Reinstatement of Members
A vacancy occurs when a member resigns, retires, dies or is removed by the tribal government that has appointed him/her, expulsion or is in default of payment of dues. All vacancies and reinstatement of members shall be dealt with as prescribed in Article III, Section D of the NCAI By-Laws.
The General and Supreme power of NCAI resides in its members meeting in General Assembly. The NCAI General Assembly reserves the authority to delegate specific duties and responsibilities to the Executive Council, Executive Committee, the Executive Director and/or other NCAI officers.
It shall, without limitation, have the following specific powers:
- To generally carry out the purpose and mission of NCAI;
- To determine the membership;
- To elect officers and determine their duties;
- To adopt and amend any and all policies of NCAI;
- To authorize the obligation of NCAI assets and resources;
- To support or oppose public policy as it pertains to or impacts American Indians and Alaska Natives;
- To determine the time and location of NCAI Annual Convention meetings; and,
- To constitute committees for such purposes as it deems necessary.
A quorum of the Annual Convention or the Mid-Year Conference shall be 50% + 1 of the membership having met the requirements of credentials.
2. Rules of Order
All meetings shall be conducted in accordance with this Constitution and By-Laws, NCAI Standing Rules of Order, Robert’s Rules of Order, and/or other modifications or revisions to such rules as deemed appropriate and necessary by at least two thirds (2/3) of the members in session.
a. Administrative Board Officers: Nominations for the President, First Vice President, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer’s Offices shall be made from the floor of the Convention. After nominations have concluded, the balloting for these offices shall be conducted by a consolidated secret ballot.
b. Regional Vice Presidents: Elections of Regional Vice Presidents to represent the National Congress of American Indians in the separate regions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Northeast regions shall be conducted during the second half of the Annual Convention. The time and exact location of such caucuses to elect the Regional Vice Presidents shall be announced in General Assembly at least four hours prior to caucus. Quorums for such elections shall be comprised of a majority of official representatives of the NCAI member tribes in the region. Individual NCAI members within the region of the respective election shall have a vote in these elections.
c. Qualifications: Only tribal delegates or alternates to NCAI in good membership standing shall qualify for nomination, election or office of the Administrative Board Officers or Regional Vice Presidents. The elected officers of NCAI shall be tribal officials who are elected or appointed to represent their tribal government.
a. Election Process: The President, Vice President, Recording Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected by secret ballot for tribal members by a majority vote of all members.
b. Certification Procedures:
(1) Administrative Board Officers: An Election Committee shall be appointed by the Administrative Board to conduct the elections and certify the election results.
(2) Regional Vice Presidents: A regional Election Committee shall be appointed according to procedures established by each region and shall conduct the elections and certify the election results.
Each Indian individual member is entitled to one (1) vote. Each member tribe is entitled to 100 to 180 votes, depending upon the enrollment of the tribe. Each member tribe shall vote in accordance with the table in Article III, Section B, 1(d) of the By-Laws.
4. Terms of Office
a. Administrative Board Officers: The regular term of elected Administrative Board Officers shall be for two (2) years, from the adjournment of the Annual Convention at which they are elected until the adjournment of the next Annual Convention two (2) years henceforth. No elected Administrative Board Officer may hold the same office continuously for more than four (4) years.
b. Regional Vice Presidents: The regular term of elected Regional Vice Presidents shall be for two (2) years, from the adjournment of the Annual Convention at which they are elected until the adjournment of the next Annual Convention two (2) years henceforth. No elected Regional Vice President may hold the same office continuously for more than four (4) years.
c. Resignation: Administrative Board officers and Regional Vice Presidents shall immediately submit their resignations if they no longer hold office as a tribal government official whether their changes in status is the result of their resignation, retirement, an election loss, or if their credentials as a tribal delegate have been withdrawn by their tribal governing body.
In the event of the death, resignation, or loss of ability to perform the essential duties of office with or without reasonable accommodations of an Executive Committee Member, a replacement shall be selected for the remainder of the term(s) as follows:
a. For Administrative Board members:
(1) The Executive Committee shall select a replacement by majority vote of those present at a duly called meeting.
(2) Upon the death, resignation, or loss of ability to perform the essential duties of Office with or without reasonable accommodations of the President, his office shall be filled by the First Vice President; in the event of the death, resignation, or disability of the President and First Vice President, the Executive Committee shall elect a successor from among the twelve (12) Regional Vice Presidents.
b. For the Regional Vice Presidents: A replacement shall be selected through a poll vote of the Regional delegates conducted by the alternate or a member of the Region’s delegates.
The Executive Council shall consist of one (1) duly certified delegate of each tribe which is a member tribe, in addition to the President, the First Vice President, the twelve (12) Vice Presidents, the Recording Secretary and the Treasurer, each of whom shall hold office until his successor is certified or elected and qualified. Each member shall have one (1) vote.
Tribal Delegates/Alternate Delegates
Each member tribe shall designate its official delegate to NCAI from individuals eligible for voting membership in this organization, and may designate alternates who may, in the absence of the regular delegate, exercise all rights of the regular delegate. Each member tribe shall certify such choice to the Credentials Committee prior to the Annual Convention. Each delegate shall continue as such until a successor is certified by the member tribe.
The Executive Council shall hold an Annual Conference meeting within the first quarter of each year in Washington, D.C. It shall also meet on such other occasions as shall be determined necessary by majority vote of the Executive Council, or in case of emergency, at the call of the President or a majority of the Executive Board to address any of the issues in Article V, Section C, or such other issues(s) identified by the authority(s) calling the meeting.
The control, administration, and determination of policy of the organization shall be vested in the Executive Council with authority to delegate specific duties and responsibilities to the Executive Committee, the Executive Director and other officers, provided however, that such administrative policy shall not be in conflict with actions taken by the organization in duly called, notice, and convened convention assembled. It shall, without limitation, have the following specific powers:
- To organize for business and regulate its own procedure and to adopt and, from time to time, amend By-Laws for administration of affairs of the organization not inconsistent with this Constitution.
- To fix dues payable by members.
- To accept gifts, bequests, and contributions from any sources except known subversive organizations or individuals.
- To appropriate, allocate and budget funds to effectuate the purposes of the organization.
- To adopt and determine upon policies on behalf of the organization taking fully into account any relevant action of the Annual Convention, provided that no action taken by the Executive Council shall be in conflict with the terms provided herein.
- To constitute committees for such purposes as it deems necessary.
- To affiliate with other organizations or to permit their affiliation with NCAI, as will support the purposes of the organization.
- In general, to carry out the purpose and mission of the NCAI as proclaimed by this Constitution and By-Laws.
One-third (1/3) of the membership shall constitute a quorum.
The Executive Council may act by mail ballot upon any matter within its power at any time between Annual Conventions through the following procedures:
- At the direction of the Executive Committee;
- At the direction of the President;
- Through a petition stating the issue to be voted upon and signed by twenty percent (20%) of the membership of the Executive Council. The petition must be submitted to the Administration for distribution by certified mail to the certified members of the Executive Council. The ballots must be mailed within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the petition and counted on the 21st calendar day from the mailing at 5 p.m. eastern time.
- The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, the First Vice President, the Recording Secretary, the Treasurer, and the twelve (12) Regional Vice Presidents, with the President serving as Chairperson.
- The Regional Vice President may have an alternate(s) certified in the same manner as the Regional Vice Presidential election process identified in Article II, Section F, 2 b(2).
The Executive Committee shall:
- Have the authority to provide for the employment of the Executive Director;
- Have full authority to act for the Executive Council during the interval between meetings of the Executive Council; and
- Not amend the Constitution, take any action contrary to the Constitution or By-Laws, or reverse any action of the Executive Council.
The Executive Committee shall meet at the call of the President, First Vice President, or four (4) of the Executive Committee members. Any action taken by the Executive Committee shall be reported by mail to the Executive Council within seven (7) calendar days.
Eight members of the Executive Committee including either the President or First Vice President shall constitute a quorum.
The Administrative Board shall consist of the President, First Vice President, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer. This Board shall have the responsibility of acting for the Executive Committee and, under their supervision, on financial matters as would otherwise come under the purview of the Executive Committee. Regular and normal meetings of the Executive Committee shall be held as usual with any actions taken by the Administrative Board reviewed at the first (Executive Committee) meeting thereafter.
Minimum annual membership dues shall be payable as prescribed in Article III of the By-Laws.
The National Congress of American Indians shall not engage in nor lend itself to partisan political activity.
This Constitution may be amended by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the total registered tribal and individual members at the Annual Convention. Proposed amendments must be submitted to the national NCAI office not later than three months prior to the Annual. All proposed amendments shall be submitted by the national office to the membership no later than two months prior to the Annual Convention. Before forwarding, the Executive Committee may review proposed amendments and make recommendations to the membership regarding whether the amendment is in order and promotes the purpose of NCAI to advocate for the interests of all tribes. Consideration of Constitutional amendments shall take priority over any other business during Constitutional Conventions.
The foregoing Constitution was unanimously adopted on November 14, 1944, and amended on September 2, 1955; November 1, 1957; December 10, 1957; November 4, 1965; October 2, 1967; November 17, 1971; November 12, 1975; September 20, 1978; October 3, 1979; October 4, 1989; December 4, 1991; October 15, 1992; October 23, 1996; November 19, 1997; November 14, 2002; October 11, 2009; October 25, 2012; and October 30, 2014.
The name of this organization shall be the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
The purpose of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is to serve as a forum for unified policy development among tribal governments in order to: (1) protect and advance tribal governance and treaty rights; (2) promote economic development and health and welfare in Indian and Alaska Native communities; and (3) educate the public toward a better understanding of Indian and Alaska Native tribes. The principle office of the NCAI shall be located in Washington, D.C. NCAI may have such other offices or may relocate the principal office to other locations as the Executive Council may determine from time to time.
All members are determined to be in good standing upon full payment of dues and having fulfilled the requirements of the Credentials Committee.
Membership shall be of four classes:
1. Tribal Membership
a. a. Any Tribe, band or identifiable group of American Indians and Alaska Natives shall be eligible for tribal membership provided it shall fulfill all of the following requirements:
(1)A substantial number of its members reside upon the same reservation, or (in the absence of a reservation) in the same general locality;
(2) It maintain a tribal organization, with regular officers and the means of transacting business and arriving at a reasonably accurate count of its membership;
(3) It is not a mere offshoot or fraction of an organized tribe itself eligible for membership; and,
(4) It is recognized as a tribe, or other identifiable group of American Indians by the Department of the Interior, Court of Claims, the Indian Claims Commission, or a State. An Indian or Alaska Native organization incorporated/chartered under state law is not eligible for tribal membership.
b. Tribal Delegates/Alternate Delegates: Each member tribe shall designate its official delegate to NCAI from individuals eligible for voting membership in this organization, and may designate alternates who may, in the absence of the regular delegate, exercise all right of the regular delegate. Each member tribe shall certify such choice to the Credentials Committee prior to the Annual Convention. Each delegate shall continue as such until a successor is certified by the Member tribe.
c. Tribal Delegates/Alternate Delegates Qualifications:
(1) Must be present at the Convention or Special Meeting of NCAI.
(2)Must have a current year or standing tribal resolution or other official action from the appropriate governing body of the tribe specifying the person as a delegate or the alternate delegates. Tribes shall update any standing resolutions as needed to reflect tribal elections or other changes in representation.
(3) Must have a copy of NCAI invoice reflecting full payment of tribal and Individual dues.
d. Votes: Each Indian individual member is entitled to one vote. Each member tribe is entitled to 100 to 180 votes, depending upon the enrollment of the tribe. Each member tribe shall vote in accordance with the following table:
Size of Tribe
Number of Votes
up to and including 500
501 to 1500
1501 to 2500
2501 to 3500
3501 to 4500
4501 to 5500
5501 to 6500
6501 to 7500
30 million or over $25,000
20 million to 30 million $15,000
10 million to 20 million $10,000
5 million to 10 million $5,500
1 million to 5 million $1,100
$500,000 to $1 million $550
$0 to $500,000 $110
If revenue exceeds $60 million, please consider increasing your dues payment as a contribution to
The duly constituted officers of NCAI shall be a President, a First Vice President, a Recording Secretary and a Treasurer. Other officers may be elected or appointed by NCAI as they deem necessary or desirable.
The President shall preside at all conventions of the organization and meetings of the Executive Council and shall exercise other duties delegated to him by the Executive Council.
The First Vice President shall assume the responsibilities of the President in the absence or incapacity of the President, and shall carry on such other duties as are assigned by the Executive Council.
Regional Vice Presidents
The twelve (12) Regional Vice Presidents shall:
- Be responsible for coordination of National Congress of American Indians activities in their regions;
- Serve in a leadership role in fundraising and membership activities in their regions;
- Act as liaison between the tribal and individual members in their regions and the officers and other members of the Executive Council; and
- Carry out duties as directed by the Executive Council and/or the Executive Committee.
The Recording Secretary shall perform the duties set forth in the Constitution usually performed by a secretary, and such additional duties as shall be prescribed by the Executive Council.
He/she shall provide copies of the minutes of all actions by the Annual Convention, Executive Council, Executive Committee, and Administrative Board to the Executive Committee by postmark or electronic delivery within thirty (30) calendar days of the action.
The Treasurer shall:
- Be responsible for all funds of the organization;
- Submit monthly financial reports to the Executive Committee; and
- Provide for an annual audit by a Certified Public Accountant and submit the report to the Executive Committee within 15 calendar days of receipt of the report designated by postmark or delivery by electronic delivery.
The Executive Director shall be the administrative operating head of the organization subject to directives and policy established by the Executive Committee. He/she may be dismissed for cause by the Executive Committee.
Election and Term of Office
- The term of all officers shall be two (2) years. Officers shall not serve more than two (2) consecutive terms.
- Officers shall be elected at an election held at the Annual convention of each odd calendar year. Each officer shall hold office until a successor has been duly elected and qualified.
- The President, First Vice President, Recording Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected by secret ballot by a majority vote cast of all voting individual and tribal members present.
- If there shall be a tie vote, or if the candidate with the highest number of votes shall not receive a majority of all votes cast in a particular election, a further ballot shall be cast in a particular election, and further ballot shall be cast listing the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes. In the case of a tie for second place, there shall be a run off between the tied candidates. The winner of that run off shall then appear on the next ballot with the candidate originally receiving the highest vote.
- The election process is further clarified in Part V of the NCAI Standing Rules of Order.
Oath of Office
Any officer elected or appointed shall swear to the following Oath of Office: “I, _________, having been duly elected as ____________, do hereby pledge and affirm that, during my term in said office and any extension thereof, I shall, to the best of my ability, conduct myself in good faith, exercising due care and judgment exclusively for the best interests of National Congress of American Indians.”
Any officer elected or appointed may be removed by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the Executive Council whenever in their judgment the best interest of NCAI would be served thereby.
A vacancy in office because of death, resignation, removal, disqualification or otherwise may be filled by the Executive Council for the unexpired portion of the term.
Members of the Executive Committee shall not receive salaries, fees, remunerations, gratuities, or any other form of compensation from NCAI. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to preclude any member of the Executive Committee from serving in any other capacity and receiving compensation therefore. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to preclude any member from receiving compensation from the tribe or tribal organization appointing the member.
The official meetings of NCAI shall be the Annual Convention, the Mid-Year Conference, and the winter session of the Executive Council and the duly called meetings of the Executive Committee. The Mid-Year Conference shall be at the option of the Executive Committee.
- The Executive Council shall hold an Annual Convention meeting within the first quarter of each year in Washington, D.C. It shall also meet on such other occasions as shall be determined necessary by majority vote of the Executive Council, or, in case of emergency, at the call of the President or a majority of the Executive Board.
- Executive Committee meetings shall be at the “call of the Chair.”
A quorum of the Annual Convention or the Mid-Year Conference shall be 50% + 1 of the membership having met the requirements of credentials. A quorum of the Executive Council shall be thirty percent (30%) of member tribes. A quorum of the Executive Committee shall be 50% + 1 of the twelve (12) Regional Vice Presidents and the Executive Officers combined.
Special meetings of the Executive Committee may be called by the President or by the written request of at least five (5) members. Business items are limited to the purpose(s) identified in the notice of the special meeting. Other non-controversial agenda items may be added only without objection. Other controversial items may not be added to the agenda without prior notice.
Notice of Meetings
Notice of meetings in writing or by telephone stating the purpose, place, day and time of any meeting of the members shall be delivered by postal, electronic device, in person or by telephone not less than thirty (30) days before the date of the meeting.
No Proxy Voting
At any meeting, a voting member may vote only in person and not by proxy.
Teleconference Meeting/Voting by Mail or FAX
Regular or Special meetings of the Executive Committee may be held by teleconference provided all members (or an official representative of his/her tribe or tribal organization) have been duly notified of such meeting at least 48 hours before such meeting.
Members may be asked from time to time to vote on key issues without a meeting. Such voting is allowed provided all members are served with the same ballot and information about the subject voted upon either by mail or electronic deliver. Elections may not be conducted by mail or electronic delivery.
The Executive Council consists of the persons (delegates) selected by each member tribe who has met all of the conditions of credentials and are present in a duly called meeting of the Executive Council. While in session, the Executive Council is authorized to carry out official activities of NCAI that are delegated to it by the Annual Convention and are consistent with duties and powers stated in Article V of the Constitution.
The Executive Committee shall consist of: the President, the First Vice President, the Recording Secretary, the Treasurer and one other member elected from within each of the twelve (12) Regions. The Executive Committee shall have all the authority of the Executive Council when the Executive Council is not in session except that such authority may not be contrary to or overturn any decisions of the Executive Committee.
Committees and Sub-Committees
The President is authorized to appoint Committee and Subcommittees. Such appointments shall take place immediately following the election of officers. All Committee and Subcommittee members serve until their successors are duly appointed and qualified. Committee and Subcommittees are authorized to function only while NCAI is in session except as otherwise authorized by the Annual Convention, Executive Council, Executive Committee, the Constitution, By-Laws, and/or the NCAI Standing Rules of Order. The Committee and Subcommittee structure shall be as follows:
Human Resources Committee
- Subcommittee on Education
- Subcommittee on Health
- Subcommittee on Indian Child and Family Welfare
- Subcommittee on Disabilities
- Subcommittee on Elders
Land and Natural Resources Committee
- Subcommittee on Trust Lands, Natural Resources and Agriculture
- Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Policy
- Subcommittee on Environmental Protection and Land Use
Litigation and Governance Committee
- Subcommittee on Tribal Gaming
- Subcommittee on Jurisdiction and Tribal Government
- Subcommittee on Human, Religious and Cultural Concerns
- Subcommittee on Taxation
- Subcommittee on Housing
- Subcommittee on Economic
- Development, Finance and Employment
- Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- Subcommittee on Technology and Telecommunications
Rules and Credentials Committee
Other Committees, Task Forces, Caucuses and Other Informal Groups
The NCAI President may designate other Committees, Task Forces, Caucuses and other informal groups, each of which shall consist of at least two or more members. The purpose of these groups shall be to share information on specific issues and develop policy recommendations for consideration by the larger deliberative body of NCAI. The designation of such groups and the delegation thereto of authority shall not operate to relieve the Executive Council, or any individual Council member, of any responsibilities imposed on it or him/her by law or any authority to set the policy direction of NCAI. Such groups may be dissolved with the NCAI President, in consultation with the Executive Committee, when they have achieved their purpose, or when they no longer meet the needs for which they were originally created.
The President is authorized to make a list of interim chairs of all Committees and Subcommittees prior to meetings at which Committees will be functional. These interim chairs are responsible for making sure that Committee space is available, the time(s) of Committee meetings are posted, a Committee organizational election is conducted, NCAl support staff is lined up and resolutions directed to the Committee are copied and available to Committee members. Once a Committee has completed its work, it is the responsibility of the chairman of the Committee to designate a representative of the Committee to report to the Assembly.
The Executive Director shall be empowered to accept applications for membership and to admit to membership such applicants as are eligible for membership, subject to review by the Executive Council.il.
At the end of the Annual Meeting, the Executive Director will develop a report of the Annual Meeting and send the report, along with solicitation for membership, to all tribes who are eligible for membership, and to all individuals and organizations who were not able to attend the annual meeting and were members in the previous year.
All meetings of NCAl shall be conducted in accordance with this Constitution and By-Laws, NCAI Standing Rules of Order, Robert’s Rules of Order and/or any other modifications or revisions to such rules as deemed appropriate and necessary by at least two thirds (2/3) of the members in session.
AMENDMENTS OF BY-LAWS
These By-Laws may be amended at any meeting of the Executive Council by a majority vote of the Executive Council members present, or upon referral on majority vote of the membership of the Executive Council by not less than two thirds of the members present and voting at the Annual Convention.
The foregoing By-Laws were unanimously adopted on November 14, 1944 and amended by the Executive Council on April 2, 1960; October 2, 1967; January 23, 1976; September 20, 1978; October 3, 1979; October 4, 1989; June 13, 1992; October 23, 1996; November 14, 2002; June 23, 2004, February 28, 2007; and October 25, 2012.
General Assembly of the National Congress of American Indians
ASSEMBLY RULES OF ORDER
These rules are intended to serve as a guide to delegates in conducting their business of setting policy for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), in General Assembly (Convention), at the Mid-Year Convention and during special sessions of the Congress. It is not intended to take the place of any accepted rule of order or special rules adopted by the convention. NCAI reserves the right to adopt any amendments to these rules or adopt substitute rules at any time with a majority vote of a quorum of the delegates.
Delegates are not officially seated until they register and meet all the requirements to be credentialed as set forth in the By-Laws. Delegates have the opportunity to register the day before the Convention, or for the first two days of the Convention as designated in the agenda, unless the Executive Director specifies otherwise. At least one member of the Credentials Committee must be present at any time registration is taking place.
QuorumThe Credentials Committee will be ready to make their first report to the Convention at 2:00 p.m. or the next break in the agenda after 2:00 p.m. The report shall state how many member tribes there are, how many tribes need to be present for a quorum, and how many have registered by the time of the report. If at least 50% + 1 of the delegates of member tribes have registered by the time of the report, the Chair shall declare that a quorum is present and ask for a motion to accept the Committee’s report. The Credentials Committee will also report periodically on changes to delegation.
The quorum of 50% + 1 of the duly elected delegates does not change throughout the duration of the Convention. In the event a quorum is not present at the time of the report of the Credentials Committee, the Chair shall declare a specific time at which another report will be given.
A. The purpose of a roll call is to determine if registered delegates representing tribes are actually present at the time of the calling of the roll. The roll will be called:
1. Prior to any critical vote on a controversial issue at the request of a delegate;
2. During a “roll call” vote; and
3. During election of officers (except when the delegates decide on an alternate method prior to the beginning of the election process).
B. When each tribal roll is taken, the NCAI Recording Secretary shall read only the list of accredited member tribes. At each tribal roll call on the Convention floor, the voting delegate (or in his or her absence, the alternate) shall stand and state name, tribe, and number of votes cast by the tribe.
All duly seated delegates and Indian individual members in good standing are eligible to vote on any matter brought before the convention or in elections of tribal officials. Voting is not official unless a quorum is present, except to:
Voting in Regional Caucuses
Each regional caucus may determine its own procedures for elections of Regional Vice Presidents and Alternates. However, if consensus cannot be reached on election procedures, the Elections Committee will assist in the election and the procedure will follow the regular process of nominations and the weighted voting system where each Indian individual member is entitled to one vote and each member tribe is entitled to 100 to 180 votes, depending upon the enrollment of the tribe, following the rules of the NCAI By-Laws, Article III, Section B, 1(d).
Election of Officers
Only tribal delegates or alternates to NCAI in good membership standing shall qualify for nomination, election or office of the Administrative Board Officers or Regional Vice President. Any registered member in good standing is eligible to nominate others and participate in the election process. The President (or session Chair) shall turn the Chair over to the Election Committee Chairman. No member of the Election Committee shall be a candidate for any office.
Nominations of officers shall begin no later than 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday of an election year.
1. Nominations of officers shall be in the following order:
b. First Vice President
c. Recording Secretary
2. The Election Committee Chairman shall declare nominations open for the office of President;
3. Nomination speeches shall be no longer than two (2) minutes. Individuals making nominations must state their name, the tribe they represent, and indicate that they are a member in good standing of NCAI. Nominations do not have to be seconded, and no seconding speeches shall be allowed.
4. After calling for nominations three (3) consecutive times, the Chairman may declare nominations closed without a motion. Motions to close nominations in order to block a nomination are not allowed.
B. Balloting by Tribal Delegates
The voting process shall take place from 8:00am to 10:00am on Thursday of an election year. If needed, balloting for a runoff will be held from 11:00am to Noon. The balloting will take place in a separate room while General Assembly continues.
The balloting for all officers shall be by consolidated secret ballot. Each tribal delegate shall be entitled to 100 to 180 votes in accordance with the table in Article III, Section B, 1(d) of the NCAI By-Laws.
1. Tribal delegates will pick up one of the official ballots at the registration tables. Each of the registration tables will have a list of tribal delegates, the correct number of ballots with appropriate number of tribal votes, and a sign in sheet for tribal delegates.
2. Elections Committee volunteers will be selected by each Regional Vice President and will check the delegate against the official delegate list and monitor the signature while the other hands out the ballots.
3. The ballot box or boxes will be inspected by the Elections Committee Chair prior to the balloting to assure that each box is empty and secure. Ballot boxes will be placed in an area that can be clearly viewed by the Elections Committee members, other election officials and the nominees.
4. The elections committee may use electronic vote counting equipment.
C. Balloting by Individual Members
Indian individual members shall be entitled to cast one vote. Ballots for Indian individual members shall be a different color than tribal ballots whenever possible.
1. Registration tables shall be set up and Elections Committee members in good standing shall be appointed to distribute ballots to members whose name appears on the list assigned to that table. The list of all Indian individual members shall be divided equitably between the tables.
2. Balloting shall proceed similar and simultaneous to member tribe voting.
3. Proxy voting is not permitted.
D. Robert’s Rules of Order require that a majority of the votes must be cast for a candidate for him/her to be elected.
E. In the event a candidate does not get a majority of the delegate votes, another balloting will take place. Only the two (2) highest vote getters for an office will be on the second ballot. Once a candidate gets a majority of the delegate votes, the Chair will request a motion to adopt the Election Committee report.
F. Regional Vice Presidents are elected in the Regional caucuses at a time specifically set aside for this purpose. Each caucus chair reports the results of caucus elections and makes a motion to ratify their elections at the conclusion of the report:
Mr./Madam Chair, the____________________ Region has elected Mr./Ms. ________________ as our Regional Vice President and Mr./Ms. _______________________ as the alternate. I move and ask unanimous consent for the Convention to ratify our election.” The Chair responds: “Hearing no objection, so ordered!”
Rules of Order
Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the official rules of order for the Convention and Committees. NCAI General Assembly reserves the rights to adopt replacement rules or special rules as it sees fit from time to time.
One significant exception to the use of Robert’s Rules of Order is a policy that provides for a two (2) year business cycle for Convention action. This means that all Convention business has a life equal to the two year term of NCAI Officers. However, a Resolution, once adopted, remains the policy of NCAI until withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution, or until it expires pursuant to its terms.
The President shall appoint a Parliamentarian and a Sergeant at Arms at the beginning of each Convention. If there is an objection to the choice of the President, the majority of the delegates present may reject the choice with or without cause.
A. All rulings of the Parliamentarian must be made to the session Chairman in the form of a recommendation. It is then the responsibility of the Chairman to make a ruling. It takes a majority vote of the delegates present to overturn the ruling of the Chairman.
B. The Sergeant at Arms is authorized to maintain order during all sessions of the General Assembly. This includes, but is not limited to, the requesting of people to discontinue side discussions while in session.
Call to Order
It is the responsibility of the President to make sure that each session of the Convention is called to order as closely as possible to the designated time(s) specified on the adopted agenda.
A quorum need not be present nor declared for a session to be called to order. Once the session is called to order, all convention rules are in effect
Adoption of the Agenda
Adoption of the agenda serves two (2) functions:
A. It provides an opportunity for the delegates to vote on whether or not they agree with the proposed agenda; and
B. It provides the delegates the opportunity to suggest amendments to the agenda.
It is the responsibility of the President, in consultation with the Executive Director, to make every effort to consult with presenters to keep their presentation within a specified time frame. The session Chair should be able to make a statement like: “The next speaker will speak for ten (10) minutes and we will have questions and answers for fifteen (15) minutes.” Once the agenda is adopted, it serves as a guide for scheduled activities of the convention. It can be amended at any time, without objection or with a majority vote.
A call for Orders of the Day, without objection will direct the session Chairman to proceed with the scheduled agenda item notwithstanding current Convention activities. If there is an objection to the call for Orders of the Day, then a majority vote to sustain the call will direct the Chairman to proceed with the next item.
This rule provides the President with the option of appointing a session Chairman for any or all sessions of the Convention, whether or not the President remains present. It is preferred that the appointed session Chairman be selected from the twelve (12) elected Regional Vice Presidents. Any appointed session Chairman may return the chairmanship back to the President at any time without needing convention action.
Any duly seated delegate may make a motion once he/she is recognized by the chairman. All motions must be duly seconded before debate is allowed. A motion should be presented as follows:
“Mr. Chairman, My name is ____________________I am a delegate of the ____________________ tribe. I move...”
Long or technical motions shall be submitted to the Recording Secretary in writing. The order of priority of motions is:
1. Points of order;
2. Tabling [not debatable];
3. Deferring [not debatable];
4. Amendments; and
5. The main motion action.
A. A resolution, once adopted, remains the policy of NCAI until withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution, or until it expires pursuant to its terms.
B. Resolutions must be of a general nature to advocate the best interests of all American Indians and Alaska Natives. Resolutions that take one side between two conflicting tribes are not in order.
C. The Resolutions Committee will review submitted resolutions in advance to determine whether each resolution is in order and to make suggestions, in consultation with the sponsor, to improve resolutions so that they advance the best interests of all Indian tribes.
D. During consideration of resolutions, the committee or subcommittee will work to achieve consensus. If an objection arises an effort will be made to redraft the resolution to accommodate the objection. However, a vote may be taken if consensus cannot be reached on a policy question. When such votes occur, the tribal delegates must show that they are properly credentialed to represent their tribe. The voting procedure is one vote for each tribe.
E. A resolution that supports the federal acknowledgement or recognition of an unrecognized tribe shall require one co-sponsoring NCAI member tribe and must be presented at a prior NCAI Annual, Mid-Year or Executive Council Session.
F. Resolutions will be considered at the Annual Convention. Resolutions will not be considered at the Mid-Year Convention or the Executive Council unless they are emergency in nature and national in scope, as determined by the Resolutions Committee. At Executive Council Winter Session, the NCAI Executive Committee can take action on resolutions or refer them for consideration by the full Executive Council.
G. All resolutions must be turned in to the NCAI headquarters not later than three weeks prior to the Annual Convention, Mid-Year or Executive Council Session. No resolutions produced after such deadline will be considered unless they are emergency in nature and national in scope, as determined by the Resolution Committee. If determined to be emergency in nature and national in scope, the resolution must be turned in to the convention Resolutions Office by 12:00 noon on the second day of the Convention.
Only Indian individual members or tribal delegates in good standing may debate an issue on the floor. A person shall be allowed to speak only once on a subject and for no more than two (2) minutes, except when Presiding Officer expressly extends the time.
Each odd numbered year (election years), the President shall send a list of Committees to each delegate and request advice as to which Committee(s) they are interested in serving on before they come to the convention. The President will compile a list of Committee membership and appoint interim Chairmen to each Committee. These interim Chairmen shall serve as the Committee on Committees that is charged with reviewing the list of committee membership and recommending improvements to the Convention. Without objection, the recommendation of the Committee on Committees will be the final Committee structure. If there is an objection, the decision of the majority of delegates present will determine the final Committee structure.
With the exception of the Executive Committee and single function Committees established by the Convention to function in between Conventions on a specific task, all Committees shall function only while the Convention is in session or in recess.
It is the responsibility of the Committee Chairman to set the Committee meeting time, place, and agenda in consultation with administrations.
Recording of Minutes
The Recording Secretary is responsible for recording all of the actions of the Convention into minutes; the elected Secretary is responsible to ensure that all minutes are properly recorded and made available to delegates in a timely fashion. The minutes shall include only: agenda items, actions, and special presentations. Comments of delegates and/or staff members will not be recorded as a matter of practice; however, a delegate may have his comments or the comments of others recorded in the minutes upon request and without objection.
Suspension of the Rules
A delegate may introduce items, speakers, or request action that is not on the agenda or out of synchronization with the agenda by requesting a suspension of the rules. The suggested format of the request should be:
“Mr./Madam Chairman my name is _____________________________ I move and ask unanimous consent to suspend the rules to...” (Add an agenda item, introduce a resolution, allow a non-delegate to speak on an issue, etc.).
Hearing no objection, the Chair rules that the rules are suspended for the stated purpose and asks the delegate to proceed. If there is an objection, a majority of delegates present decide if rules are suspended.
The NCAI operating budget must be introduced no later than the end of Thursday and must be adopted before adjournment. If it appears there will not be enough time to introduce the budget in time or adopt the budget by adjournment, other items regardless of their importance must be delayed to make room for the budget introduction and/or adoption.
It is strongly recommended that all resolutions and proposals which will cost money to NCAI be introduced as early as possible so that the budget may be accurately adjusted to accommodate the resolution. Once the budget has been passed, resolutions that will cost the NCAI money are not in order and it will take a two thirds (2/3) vote to change the adopted budget.
Action before Assemblies
It is the responsibility of the President to make sure that the business of NCAI is carried out throughout the year through staff activities. The President must ensure that all Convention actions are carried out in a timely fashion and that all policies of the tribe set by convention action be adhered to.
The Executive Committee may make political and policy decisions on behalf of NCAI in between Conventions. It is also authorized to be the official governing body in between Conventions and in that capacity provide direction to administrative staff on all issues that affect the welfare of NCAI and/or its members.
Neither the President nor the Executive Committee may exercise actions or activities that are in conflict with or in any way diminish the intent of convention actions. The President and/or the Executive Committee may, however, seek advice from the delegates on issues that appear unclear and if it is the judgment of the President and/or the Executive Committee that clarity on the issue would benefit NCAI and/or American Indian and Alaska Native people. In this instance, every delegate must be contacted in writing and given reasonable time to express their opinion on the issue.
Executive Council Conference
The purpose of the Executive Council Conference is to provide an official forum of NCAI for its members to address legislative issues of concern to American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. Legislative issues will be a priority of the Conference. Every effort will be made to have the Executive Council Conference at a time when NCAI can include Congressional officials on the agenda. Committee activities should focus on legislative issues as a priority. NCAI members, in session at this Conference, reserve the right to address other issues it determines important to “Indian Country.” These rules will apply as appropriate.
The general purpose of the Mid-Year Convention is to give members an opportunity to come together to address issues critical to “Indian Country.” It is not intended to be another full NCAI Convention and shall occur at the option of a majority of the Executive Committee. More emphasis will be placed on hearing reports and developing strategies on national Indian/Alaska Native issues and less emphasis on resolutions. Resolutions will not be considered at the Mid-Year Convention unless they are emergency in nature and national in scope as determined by the Executive Committee.
Other considerations include, but are not limited to:
1. Resolutions passed (or conflict with resolutions passed) at the Annual NCAI Convention will not be considered at the Mid-Year Convention;
2. Committee meetings will be consolidated by group and may break into smaller, more specific topic related committees after assessing the issues needing attention; and
3. Roll calls will include only member tribes who have registered for the Mid-Year Convention and shall proceed similar to roll call at General Assembly. The member tribes in good standing, but who are not present, will be included in the Credentials Committee report and will be part of the Mid-Year Convention records and their rights as members are not compromised.
These rules may be amended at any time during a convention without objection or by a majority vote of a quorum present. It is intended that these rules will serve as a guide to the delegates and administration and therefore every effort will be made to keep them brief and simple.