PORTLAND, Ore. – The homelands of the Salmon, Cedar, and Canoe Nations hosted tribal leaders from throughout the U.S. and Alaska for the National Congress of American Indian’s 68th Annual Convention that ran October 30 to November 4 in Oregon’s largest city.
The big news the final day of the convention was the remaining election outcomes. Jefferson Keel, Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation was unanimously reelected President and sworn in November 2. President Keel received a standing ovation by the more than 1,000 members in session after the motion to accept the unanimous ballot had passed.
Juana Majel-Dixon of the Pauma Band - Mission Indians of Pauma, California, was reelected First Vice President. Edward Thomas, Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska is the organization’s new Recording Secretary. W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State was reelected Treasurer. This marks 20 consecutive continuous years of service for Mr. Allen, a long time tribal leader in the Pacific Northwest.
The theme, "Footprints into the Future: Our Shared Journey Toward Tribal Prosperity,” focused tribal leaders, political officials, educators, and advocates on policies aimed at continuing the strengths of tribal nations. Early on the weeklong agenda was a General Assembly session in which a microphone was delivered to each tribal leader and their suggestions duly noted in preparation for the 2011 White House Tribal Nations Conference with President Obama set for December 2 in Washington, D.C.
This year’s convention was unprecedented in the number of American Indians it brought to Oregon’s largest city, some 3,000 by most estimates. By NCAI estimates, the conference boosted the region’s economy by $1.3 million dollars. An accompanying Marketplace open daily drew nearly 200 arts, business, and educational vendors. The last time NCAI was in Portland was 36 years ago.