Little election activity at National Congress of American Indians

President Brian Cladoosby leads the National Native American Just Move It! Healthy Lifestyles Walk, Run and Rally at the National Congress of American Indians annual convention in San Diego, California, on October 21, 2015. Photo by Indianz.Com

President Cladoosby to serve second term
By Andrew Bahl
Indianz.Com Staff Writer

Brian Cladoosby secured another term as the president of the National Congress of American Indians on Wednesday after no one ran against him.

Cladoosby, the chairman of the Swinomish Tribe of Washington, said it was an "honor" to continue leading the largest inter-tribal organization in the United States. The NCAI delegation approved his second two-year term by acclamation at their annual conference in San Diego, California.

“We have many accomplishments behind us .. and we have a good deal of work in front of us,” Cladoosby told tribal leaders. “I’ve been honored to work for you on NCAI.”

Cladoosby announced his re-election bid in July. He rose to the position of president at NCAI's convention in October 2013 after one of the tightest elections in the organization's history.

Mark Macarro, the chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians nominates Brian Cladoosby to serve as president of the National Congress of American Indians on October 21, 2015. Photo from Cladoosby for NCAI / Facebook

This year's event was quite different. Of the four top positions on NCAI's executive board, there were no races for the presidency, treasurer or secretary.

Ron Allen, the chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe of Washington, won acclamation as Treasurer after no other candidate was nominated. He has previously served in the position from 1989 to 1993, from 2003 to 2007 and from 2009 to 2013.

Incumbent Secretary Aaron Payment, the chairman of the Sault St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan, will serve another term. No one challenged him either.

The vice presidency race is the only competitive one at NCAI. Two candidates will square off in balloting that takes place today.

Campaign materials for Juana Majel-Dixon at the National Congress of American Indians annual convention in San Diego, California. Photo by Indianz.Com

Juana Majel-Dixon, a council member of the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians in California, is challenging Randy Noka, a council member from the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island.

Dixon said she would force Congress to work with tribes on issues ranging from education to the Violence Against Women Act. She serves as the chair of the VAWA task force for NCAI and previously served as the organization's secretary and vice president.

“The leadership in Congress has to realize that they have to deal with us,” Majel-Dixon said.

Randy Noka, a council member for the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island at the National Congress of American Indians winter session in Washington, D.C., in February 2015. Photo by Indianz.Com

Noka has served as vice president since being appointed in 2013. He asked the crowd to hold all NCAI officials accountable, regardless of whether or not he was elected.

“I will keep this board honest … because sometimes issues aren’t heard otherwise,” Noka said in his speech.

NCAI's convention continues with a series of updates on the Indian Child Welfare Act, Indian gaming, Native youth, water rights, health and other issues. The gala banquet takes place tonight.

The conference wraps up on Friday.

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