NCAI Winter Session Begins Monday with State of Indian Nations Address

NCAI President Mark Macarro will make the State of Indian Nations address on Monday. (Photo/Levi Rickert for Native News Online)
NCAI President Mark Macarro will make the State of Indian Nations address on Monday. (Photo/Levi Rickert for Native News Online)

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of tribal leaders from throughout Indian Country are in the nation's capital to attend the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Executive Council Winter Session. The session will held at the Washington Westin from Monday, February 12 - Thursday, February 15.

This four-day legislative conference will gather leaders of tribal nations to engage in crucial discussions on issues impacting American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The conference features a variety of task force meetings, breakout sessions, special events, and guest speakers from the Biden-Harris administration, Congress, and federal partners. Additionally, winter session will feature the 2024 Native Youth Leadership Summit (NYLS), hosted by the NCAI Youth Commission.

On Monday morning, Mark Macarro (Pechanga) who was elected NCAI president in November 2023 in New Orleans will deliver his first State of Indian Nations address before a live audience at the Warner Theater, located at 513 - 13th Street. In addition to his NCAI role, Macarro has served as tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians located in Temecula California,

Similar to the U.S. president’s annual State of the Union address, each year, the president of NCAI delivers a speech to tribal leaders, members of Congress, government officials, and the public. The purpose of the address is to provide an update on the issues important to Indian Country and a vision for the upcoming year.

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Macarro will outline the goals of tribal leaders, the opportunities for success and advancement of Native peoples, and priorities to advance our nation-to-nation relationship with the United States. The event will also be live-streamed on NCAI’s official YouTube channel.

Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), the first Alaaks Native elected to Congress, will deliver the congressional response at the conclusion of Macarro's address.

On Monday afternoon, there will be several workshops and sessions at the Westin Hotel.

The first general session will begin on Tuesday, February 13.

Late last week, NCAI released the names of the features speakers who will address the general assembly throughout the winter session. (See AGENDA).

Featured speakers include:

  • Deb Haaland, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

  • Denis McDonough, Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

  • Gina Raimondo, Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

  • Miguel Cardona, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

  • Bryan Newland, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior

  • Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. House Minority Leader

  • Brian Schatz, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

  • Frank Pallone, U.S. House Representative

  • Jackson Brossy, Assistant Administrator, Office of Native American Affairs, Small Business Administration

  • Martin O’Malley, Commissioner, Social Security Administration

  • Elizabeth Carr, Tribal Advisor to the Director, Office of Management and Budget

  • Rose Petoskey, Senior Advisor and Tribal Affairs Director, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

  • Elizabeth Reese, Senior Policy Advisor for Native Affairs, White House Domestic Policy Council

About the Author: "Levi \"Calm Before the Storm\" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print\/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at"