WASHINGTON - Just three weeks after the departure of JoAnn Chase, the board of the National Congress of American Indians hired Jackie Johnson as the organization's executive director.
Johnson, Tlingit of Alaska, serves as deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Office of Native American Programs.
"I chose to take on this position because I think the timing is really important for Indian country," Johnson said. " I love a challenge and NCAI is a strong, historical organization that I will be proud to serve."
The board made the decision to hire Johnson during the its mid-year conference in Mashantucket, Conn. Formerly the chairwoman of the National American Indian Housing Council and executive director of Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority, Johnson has served as deputy assistant secretary for three years.
Throughout her career, Johnson focused on housing, cultural and economic
development issues, meeting with tribes across the country. In 1991, she was appointed a member of the National Commission on American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Housing created by Congress to help improve their housing conditions.
Johnson was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the National Community Development Financial Institution Fund Advisory Board. Johnson has won numerous Alaskan and National awards and is a former director of the Chilkoot Culture Camp in Haines, Alaska.
The executive director of NCAI is responsible for overall management and implementation of the organization's programs, internal management and financial operations. The director also serves as the organization's principle liaison with tribes, tribal organizations, the administration, Congress and the media.
Chase served as executive director of NCAI for seven years, one of the longest serving executive directors in the organization's history.
"I plan to bring sound organizational structure as well as an aggressive advocacy agenda," Johnson said. "I want to establish an administratively and financially stable organization that can help support Indian country, particularly in the area of economic development."
Johnson is expected to begin work June 13. The congress advocates for more than 250 tribal governments with the federal government and Congress and is the oldest and largest national American Indian organization.