The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is hosting tribal leaders from across the country this week in Washington, D.C. at its 2024 Executive Council Winter Session.
Tribal leaders will discuss crucial issues facing American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
They’ll also take part in taskforce meetings and listening sessions – and hear from Biden administration officials, members of Congress, and federal partners.
There’s also a Native Youth Leadership Summit.
One top highlight is the 2024 State of Indian Nations speech.
NCAI’s new president Mark Macarro, who was elected in November, is delivering the address, which sets forth tribal priorities for the year ahead.
Among priorities are land-into-trust issues, voting rights, environmental sustainability, and more.
The event kicked off Monday and will wrap up on Thursday.
The second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) Summit and Day of Action is taking place this week in Sacramento, Calif.
The events are sponsored by the Yurok Tribe and the Wilton Rancheria.
Joseph L. James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe, says putting on these events gives a voice to the state’s MMIP and their families, which he says have, for too long, suffered in silence as countless loved ones have been lost to the MMIP crisis.
Tribal leaders from across California, along with state and federal legislators and leaders, including Assembly Member James Ramos (Serrano/Cahuilla/D-CA), Attorney General Rob Bonta (D-CA), and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), as well as law enforcement and families of MMIP are expected to advocate during the two days and seek solutions to target the crisis’ root causes.
Asm. Ramos says although there are increased awareness and resources to combat the MMIP epidemic, they’re seeing California trend the wrong way with numbers of unsolved cases going up instead of down.
Officials say California has the fifth-highest number of MMIP cases in the U.S. with the majority involving young women and girls.
The day of action is taking place as the U.S. Congress reviews legislation on MMIP.
Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren and Navajo Nation Council Speaker Crystalyne Curley met with NASA administrator Bill Nelson last week, urging for federal protection of the moon.
The tribe has long advocated for protecting celestial bodies.
Navajo leaders reached out to NASA, the White House, and other federal agencies in December, expressing opposition of a private company’s rocket launch with NASA to the moon carrying human remains.
The Navajo Nation had an initial meeting with officials in January, just days prior the rocket launch.
In a press conference last month, President Nygren talked about the sacredness of the moon and says sending human remains there is desecration.
“The Navajo Nation holds the moon in such high regard, and when it comes to our way and life in our culture, that we shouldn’t be transporting human remains, ashes to the moon to the moon, and also, we’re born here, and we should be left here when we move on as well.”
President Nygren went on to say he’s expressed to the government how the moon plays a vital role to not only the Navajo Nation, but other tribes as well.
“Our land, our culture, our way of life within the four secret mountains. The way we grow things, we use it as a calendar, and our moon is so integral in everything that we do, that there should be some respect, and respect some sacredness to the moon.”
President Nygren says even though they’re opposed to this journey to the moon, the tribe is not opposed to science or space exploration, but wants continued tribal consultation.
The Navajo Nation says last week’s hour-long meeting at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., was a step toward acknowledging and respecting Native perspectives within U.S. space policy.