IGA, NCAI Officially Reactivate Tribal Leaders Task Force

IGA NCAI Task Force announcement
L-R: Jason Giles, Executive Director of the Indian Gaming Association (IGA); IGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr.; National Congress of the American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp; and Larry Wright, Jr., Executive Director of NCAI.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Indian Gaming Association (IGA) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) hosted a press conference, officially announcing the reactivation of the IGA/NCAI Tribal Leaders Task Force. IGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. and NCAI President Fawn Sharp made the announcement to the press present and by Zoom at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., shared that the reactivation of the Tribal Leaders Task Force comes at the direction of tribal leaders from around the country and is a direct response to the emergent threats endangering tribal sovereignty and tribal treaty rights.
“We are here today at the request of the national tribal leadership,” said Chairman Stevens. “Tribal leaders have requested that the two largest tribal advocacy organizations come together and activate the IGA/NCAI Task Force to start the national dialogue on forming a strategy to confront Indian Country’s challenges at the national level.”  

“From adverse Supreme Court decisions to climate change, Indian Country is facing a myriad of challenges negatively impacting tribal sovereignty, tribal jurisdiction, economic self-sufficiency, women’s health, and the protection of our precious children, among many others. This task force will hold this country to its commitments and promises – commitments and promises made by numerous Presidents and enshrined in our treaties and the Constitution.”

The Tribal Leaders Task Force will develop strategies to counter the unprecedented anti-tribal sovereignty Supreme Court decisions and how tribal governments can continue to assert their inherent sovereign rights over their land, jurisdiction, and tribal citizens. 

“The work of the task force is more urgent than ever as we await potential adverse rulings from the Supreme Court on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the continuing scourge of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Persons,” said Stevens. 

“The damage caused by these adverse decisions and the danger they create are some of the greatest challenges facing Indian Country today,” said NCAI President Sharp. “We need swift and decisive action to address these threats, and that is why we are here today – there’s a need to reactivate this task force. It is timely, necessary, and desperately needed across Indian Country. I am confident that together tribal nations can and will make a difference, and when we are united, Indian Country is truly unstoppable. No matter what the challenge, no matter what the threat. We always meet that threat and emerge stronger, and I’m confident about reactivating this task force.”

Together, the two leaders announced that the Tribal Leaders Task Force would hold its first official meeting at the NCAI Mid-Year Convention and Marketplace at the Mystic Lake Hotel & Casino in Prior Lake, MN, on June 4 – 8th, 2023.