Skip to main content

News Release

Federal Communications Commission

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel today announced the appointment of eight tribal members to the Federal Communications Commission’s Native Nations Communications Task Force. In addition to filling seven current vacancies, the appointment of eight new tribal members raises the total number of tribal Task Force members from 25 to 26.[1]

“I am pleased to announce the new members of the Native Nations Communications Task Force,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “The Task Force continues to make significant contributions to the Commission’s implementation of new Congressional directives and its ongoing efforts to increase the deployment and adoption of modern communications services on tribal lands. The additional expertise and perspectives these new members bring will benefit the Task Force’s current and future work. Maintaining the Task Force is an important element of our commitment to work with tribes on a government-to-government basis to address issues of mutual interest.”


The Task Force’s mission is to provide guidance, expertise, and recommendations to specific requests from the Commission on a range of communications issues that directly or indirectly affect tribal governments and their people. This enhances the Commission’s ability to carry out its statutory responsibilities to ensure the availability of communications by wire and radio, and encourage broadband deployment to all Americans.


The newly appointed tribal Task Force members are:

Sam Cohen, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Marissa Merculieff, Aleut Community of St. Paul (ASCPI), AK

Allyson Mitchell, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe

Travis Noland, Cherokee Nation

Dr. Stacey Oberly, Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Theron Rutyna, Ponca Indian Tribe of Nebraska

Teresa Taylor, Lummi Nation

Jon Walton, Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska

These new members will join incumbent tribal members:

Honorable Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)

Honorable Joe Garcia, Ohkay Owingeh

Honorable Joey Whitman, Gila River Indian Community

Cliff Agee, Chickasaw Nation

Christopher Becenti, Navajo Nation

Bill Bryant, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community

Damon Day, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Daniel Gargan, Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Kristan Johnson, Tohono O’odham Nation

James Kinter, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

Donald Long Knife, Fort Belknap Indian Community

Robert A. Lucas II, Tanana Chiefs Conference

Will Micklin, Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians

Robert Pollard, Blue Lake Rancheria

Kevin Shendo, Pueblo of Jemez

Jimmy Williams, Choctaw Nation

Danae Wilson, Nez Perce Tribe (Tribal Co-Chair)

Karen Woodard, Morongo Band of Mission Indians


Pursuant to the “intergovernmental communication” exemption of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA),[2] the Task Force is not subject to, and is not required to follow, the procedures set forth in the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. App 2 (1988).[3]


To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice) or (202) 418-0432 (TTY).


For further information, please contact: Janet Sievert, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of Native Affairs and Policy, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, (202) 418-1362,

[1] On June 28, 2021, the Commission issued a Public Notice extending the term of the Task Force by one year, until October 24, 2022, and seeking tribal nominations to fill Task Force vacancies. Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel Announces Term Extension of the Native Nations Communications Task Force and Seeks Nomination for Vacancies, Public Notice, DA 21-764 (CGB June 28, 2021). On August 23, 2021 a subsequent Public Notice extended the deadline for nominations from August 27, 2021 to September 27, 2021. FCC Announces Extension of Time to Submit Applications for Vacancies on its Native Nations Communications Task Force, Public Notice, DA 21-1034 (CGB Aug. 23, 2021). At the time the Public Notices were released, there were three tribal vacancies on the Task Force. Subsequently, four additional seats have become vacant, bringing the total to seven. In the process of reviewing the nominations, the Commission determined that increasing the number of tribal members by one to 26 would provide the Commission a more comprehensive and diverse perspective on communications issues on tribal lands. The new tribal members will serve until the end of the current Task Force’s extended term.

[2] See 2 U.S.C. § 1534(b).

[3] See 47 CFR § 0.701(a).

Federal Communications Commission, FCC - logo