National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Elects 2017-2019 Executive Council at 74th Annual Convention & Marketplace

Published on Oct 19, 2017

MILWAUKEE, WI | On Thursday, October 19, 2017, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) elected the new 2017-2019 NCAI Executive Council at the “We Are Strong Nations” 74th Annual Convention & Marketplace in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Executive Council is composed of four Administrative Board Officers and Regional Vice-Presidents and Alternates from each of the 12 regions.

Chickasaw Nation Lt. Governor Jefferson Keel was elected as the 22nd President of NCAI after a close run-off with outgoing NCAI 1st Vice President and Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp. In his acceptance speech, President Keel acknowledged his running mates, Sharp and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Tribal Chairman Harold C. Frazier, commending them for their passion and commitment to their people and Indian Country.

“Strength is in our sovereignty,” said Keel. “Success is in our unity.”

President Keel is joined by three other 2017-2019 NCAI Administrative Board Officers: 1st Vice President and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Chairperson Dr. Aaron Payment, Recording Secretary and Pauma Band of Mission Indians Traditional Councilwoman Juana Majel-Dixon, and Treasurer and Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Chairman/CEO W. Ron Allen.

“My heart, soul, and commitment is to our Native people and families,” said Payment. “I also want to recognize my Tribal Board for voting unanimously to support my continuation of this critical work at the national level advocating for our people in a non-partisan way."

“I am honored to have the opportunity to further NCAI’s important work of championing the nation-to-nation relationship and finding common ground to improve the well-being, education, safety and long-term stability of our tribal communities,” said Majel-Dixon.

“It is a humbling honor to be supported by Indian Country to be elected Treasurer again,” said Allen. “I’m looking forward to being a member of the NCAI team to protect and advance the tribal agenda to become more Self-Governing and Self-Reliant.”

The NCAI Administrative Board Officers are joined by Regional Vice Presidents and Alternates from the 12 regions. Elected by their respective Regional Caucuses, the Regional Vice Presidents and Alternates serve alongside the Administrative Board Officers for a two-year term. The 2017-2019 Regional Area Vice Presidents and Alternates are listed below:

Alaska Vice-President: Rob Sanderson, Jr.

Alaska Alternate: Clinton Lageson


Northwest Vice-President: Leonard Forsman

Northwest Alternate: Mel Sheldon


Great Plains Vice-President: Larry Wright

Great Plains Alternate: Jean Paul Roy

Great Plains Alternate: A. Gay Kingman


Western Vice-President: Franklin Pablo, Sr.

Western Alternate: Quintin Lopez


Southwest Vice-President: Joe Garcia

Southwest Alternate: Gil Vigil


Southern Plains Vice-President: Zach Pahmahmie

Southern Alternate: Terry Pepper


Midwest Vice-President: Roger Radar

Midwest Alternate: Shannon Holsey


Eastern Oklahoma Vice-President: Joe Byrd

Eastern Oklahoma Alternate: Norman Hildebrand


Pacific Vice-President: Willie Carrillo

Pacific Alternate: Jack Potter


Northeast Vice-President: Lance Gumbs

Northeast Alternate: Jeff Gill


Southeast Vice-President: Nancy Carnley

Southeast Alternate: Earl Evans

The NCAI Executive Council will be sworn into office during the Sixth General Assembly on Friday, October 20, 2017 prior to the Full Committee Reports and Consideration of Resolutions.


About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit

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