Published on Oct 12, 2011
Above: Senator Daniel Akaka, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, stands with tribal leaders as part of Tribal Unity Impact Week on Capitol Hill. Tribal leaders from leading tribal organizations and tribes across Indian Country, including Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian leaders, called on Congress to take immediate action on the most pressing issues facing Native nations.
In a media event held in front of the U.S. Capitol, NCAI President Jefferson Keel, was joined by Senator Daniel Akaka (HI), chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, as well as elected officials from tribal nations and leaders of Indian organizations.
"We are here on Capitol Hill with a loud and clear message for all members of Congress to hear. The federal trust responsibility must be respected and, as tribal leaders, we will continue to protect what is most important to us: our land, our families, and our economic vitality," said NCAI's President Keel in a statement following the event. "We have asked members of Congress to do more than listen; we call on them to stand with us on these issues. Together we will be stronger."
In a letter to Congress, participants of Tribal Unity Impact Week called on Congress to acknowledge and recommit themselves to the most pressing issues facing Indian Country.
"Tribes and tribal entities have patiently participated in the political process, but recognizing the urgency of these pressing issues, we are now increasing our call for congressional action," reads a letter signed by twelve leaders from the nation's leading tribal and Native organizations. "We call on U.S. Congress members to stand with us today, so we might stand together stronger, in the future." Read the letter signed by the participating organizations.
As the nation's oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization, NCAI brought together leading inter-tribal organizations to organize the event.
Leaders attending the week of meetings are representing the unified voice of hundreds of tribal nations and Indigenous communities from around the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. In addition to NCAI, the following inter-tribal organizations partnered to organize Tribal Unity Impact Week: Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Alaska Federation of Natives, All Indian Pueblo Council, California Association of Tribal Governments, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Navajo Nation, United South and Eastern Tribes, and United Tribes of North Dakota.