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Strengthening Tribal Voices and Advancing Self-Determination

Mary Smith, Principal Director Indian Health Service, delivered the Indian Health Service update on Monday, October 10.

From October 9-14, the 73rd Annual National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Convention and Marketplace was held at the Phoenix Convention Center. Hundreds of tribal leaders, educators and youth from across the nation discussed critical issues such as protecting the Native vote, education, water rights and tribal sovereignty.

Since 1944, the NCAI has hosted meetings across the nation to discuss with tribal leaders and most recently youth to help transform tribal nations and create a healthy more resilient nation for American Indian and Alaska Natives. This year’s theme is “Prosperity Through Sovereignty.”

“I really want to take a minute to honor our ancestors, those who have gone before us, those who have yet to be born and our seventh generation. Thank you to the nations’ land that we’re standing on today as we celebrate and honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It’s an awesome day to be Indigenous! It’s good to be Indigenous every day,” said Tracy Goodluck, senior associate director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs for the White House.

Members of the Young River People's Council were present and attended the Youth commission meetings.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day was acknowledged at the conference on October 10.

Throughout the remainder of the conference, various updates and topics were discussed in workshops and sessions. Some topics included Indian Health Service consultation; the Indian Child Welfare Act; tribal gaming; economic, finance and community development; Veterans Affairs tribal government relations; housing; water rights; the Violence Against Women Act; emergency management on tribal communities; the Native vote; various policy updates; and developing a transition plan for the next administration.

Key speakers included Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.); Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.); Larry Roberts, acting assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; and Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, who received a standing ovation and applause for his people’s efforts to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Tracy Goodluck, Senior Associate Director of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, The White House.
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community was a Gold Sponsor of the event. SRPMIC hosted a NCAI welcome reception at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on October 9.

For more information about the National Congress of American Indians, visit