WASHINGTON, D.C. – Joe Sarcinella has joined the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) as its Chief Operations Officer and General Counsel. Sarcinella is an experienced tribal advocate and attorney, with many years in tribal advocacy and business-related fields. Over the previous four years, he served as Senior Advisor and Liaison for Native American Affairs for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. While there, Sarcinella was the lead official monitoring Department of Defense and military compliance with all applicable federal laws, treaties and executive orders relating to government-to-government relationships with Tribes and Native Hawaiians.
“Joe is the perfect fit for NAFSA as we continue to grow in membership and stature,” said Gary Davis, Executive Director of NAFSA. “He has a deep understanding of both Indian Country and the federal government, and will be a tremendous asset to NAFSA and our members as we continue to advocate for a robust tribal finance sector that strengthens and upholds tribal sovereignty. Our members and our entire sector will benefit from his knowledge and leadership.”
Sarcinella began his professional career in non-profit tribal youth programming, and later transitioned into law and public policy. He has provided professional services to colleges and educational institutions, The National Congress of American Indians, six tribal governments, the federal government and numerous private individuals and groups. Joe first came to DC to work for the Navajo Nation Washington Office where his primary responsibility was fostering and maintaining relationships with members of Congress and the federal agencies. His extensive portfolio with the Navajo Nation required constant advocacy on the hill, where he had great success securing the interests of the Navajo people.
His professional portfolio also includes gaming, taxation & finance, government contracting, transportation, cultural resources, Human Rights, the environment, and natural resources and energy.
“Whether through assisting with ceremonies in the summer, or as an attorney and advocate in DC, I have served Indian Country my whole life," said Sarcinella. "I am excited for this new chapter in my professional career and know that I can assist NAFSA and its membership by making positive strides in the financial services sector for tribes and tribal lending entities.”
Originally from California, Sarcinella played college football on full scholarship for Boise State University, and later Sacramento State, where he earned a double major in International Business and Political Science. He earned fellowships to Arizona State University, graduating with a JD, MS, and with a legal certification in Indian law from the renowned Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
Sarcinella is from mixed heritage including Hunkpapa Lakota & Assiniboine from the Wood Mountain Reserve in Canada, and he is married to the respected Indian Country advocate and CEO Clara Lee Pratte from the Navajo Nation. He recently became a father to Joseph Robert Tabloka.
Formed in 2012, NAFSA is a 501(c)6 trade association located in Washington, D.C that advocates for tribal sovereignty, promotes responsible financial services, and provides better economic opportunity in Indian Country for the benefit of tribal communities.