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Live from NCAI annual convention in Tulsa

Indianz.Com will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma, all week for the 62nd annual National Congress of American Indian convention. Join us daily for updates on all the happenings and events!

The Conference
It's raining downtown but that won't stop the opening festivities. The conference is due to kick off at the Tulsa Convention Center as the host tribes -- the Muscogee Creek Nation, the Cherokee Nation and the Osage Nation -- welcome delegates to northeastern Oklahoma.

Upwards of 5,000 people are expected to attend the conference. This is the first time since 1989 that Oklahoma, home to more than 30 federally recognized tribes and the second largest Indian population in the United States, has hosted NCAI.

This year's theme is "Celebrating 30 Years of the Indian Self-Determination Act." Congress passed the self-determination law in 1975, one of the few successful Indian policies in the history of the United States. Other issues to be discussed at the convention include domestic violence, No Child Left Behind, health, trust reform and sovereignty [Conference Info].

The Schedule
Today's schedule includes an address by outgoing NCAI President Tex Hall, who is ending his second term. NCAI Treasurer Ron Allen will give an update on the Tribal Embassy in Washington, D.C., and hurricane relief fundraising. NCAI and a representative from the Louisiana Governor�s Office of Indian Affairs are also slated to provide more detailed information about the hurricane relief.

Delegates are scheduled to hear from Rep. Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma), Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and Dale Bosworth, the head of the U.S. Forest Service. Other members of Congress will deliver messages to NCAI.

Special Event
Today is Halloween so NCAI is about to get scary with a dance and costume contest at the Crowne Plaza Hotel this evening. Some delegates already made candy runs at Wal-Mart. But what will they be wearing? You won't want to miss this event.

The Election
What would NCAI be without a healthy dose of politics? This year the stakes are high as delegates elect a new national leader. The three candidates, all prominent tribal leaders, have been busy campaigning in advance of the convention. If you want to learn more on their positions and views, listen to Native America Calling on Tuesday for a debate. Then stay tuned for the election results on Thursday!

The candidates are:
Harold Frazier
Frazier is the chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. He is a frequent Congressional witness on trust issues and is a leading critic of the federal government's trust reform plans.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Photo Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Joe Garcia
Garcia is the governor of San Juan Pueblo of New Mexico. He is currently serving his second term as NCAI vice president, a position he won two years ago. He recently helped his tribe install a statue of Po'Pay, a leader of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, in Washington, D.C.
Photo Indianz.Com.

Jim Gray
Gray is chief of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma. He is a prominent leader on trust reform issues and settlement of the Cobell v. Norton lawsuit. He is the former longtime publisher and owner of The Oklahoma Indian Times / The Native American Times.
Campaign Site | Osage Nation
Photo Indianz.Com.

Jim Cason, the acting head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, is scheduled to present an update on trust reform on Tuesday.

More Stories:
NCAI convention hits Tulsa (The Native American Times 10/30)
Indian Congress is set to meet (The Oklahoman 10/30)
Thousands of tribal leaders in Tulsa for convention (AP 10/30)

Relevant Links:
National Congress of American Indians -
Tulsa Planning Committee -

Related Stories:
NCAI ready to descend on Tulsa for annual meet (10/27)