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Highlights from Day 4 of National Congress of American Indians





The National Congress of American Indians has been meeting all week for its 70th annual convention all week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Monday. Here are some highlights from the fourth day of the conference.

New Leaders Elected
In one of the closest votes in NCAI history, Brian Cladoosby, the chairman of the Swinomish Tribe of Washington, won election as president of the organization on Thursday.

Cladoosby defeated Joe Garcia, a council member for Ohkay Owingeh in New Mexico and a former two-term NCAI president, by just 25 votes. The results were announced after a run-off that was conducted when none of the four candidates won enough votes in the first round.

"I can't tell you how honored I am," Cladoosby told tribal leaders after winning the second round. "I will not let you down."

When Cladoosby is sworn in today on the final day of the convention, he will be leading an entirely new slate of NCAI officers. Joining him will be Michael Finley, the chairman of the Confederated Tribes Of The Colville Reservation in Washington, who will serve as the new 1st vice president after running unopposed.

For secretary, Robert Shepherd, the chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of South Dakota, defeated incumbent Ed Thomas, the president of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes in Alaska. Shepherd vowed to improve NCAI's communications efforts and adopt new technologies to share information.

Dennis Welsh, a council member for the Colorado River Indian Tribes, will serve as treasurer. He ran unopposed but noted that he was defeated two years ago in his first attempt for the job.

"I'm just so happy to be here," a highly-enthusiastic Welsh told NCAI.

The officers will be installed this morning along with the vice presidents for the 12 different areas of Indian Country. The convention ends at noon with the retiring of the colors and a closing prayer.

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