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National Congress of American Indians opens meeting in D.C.

National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby delivers closing remarks at the speaks at the organization's executive council winter session on February 25, 2015. Seated is former NCAI Treasurer Dennis Welsh. Photo by Indianz.Com

The National Congress of American Indians opens its executive council winter session on Monday afternoon in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of tribal leaders are in town for the meeting and will be discussed a wide range of issues, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the 2016 presidential race and Native youth. They will also hear from top Obama administration officials and members of Congress from both parties.

The list of speakers includes:
• Karen Diver, Special Assistant to the President, White House
• Secretary Robert McDonald, US Department of Veteran Affairs
• Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator, Small Business Administration
• John King, Acting Secretary, Department of Education
• Mary Wakefield, Deputy Secretary, US Health and Human Services
• Lawrence Roberts, Acting Assistant Secretary, Department of the Interior
• Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
• Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
• Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
• Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)
• Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI)
• Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
• Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
• Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA)
• Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)
• Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
• Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)
• Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID)
• Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
• Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)

The 13th annual Leadership Awards Banquet takes place on Tuesday evening. This year's honorees are: Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota); former Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn; Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D), sports journalist Mike Wise; attorney Jesse Witten and former NCAI staffer Sherry Salway Black. Awards will also be presented to Jovan Grandson and Avery Black, two students from the Navajo Nation, for winning the Tribal Exchange Stock Market Game.

The conference concludes on Wednesday. A list of daily highlights follows:
Monday, February 22
• White House Report from Karen Diver, Special Assistant to the President
• Gina McCarthy, Administrator, US Environmental Protection Agency
• Sen. Al Franken (R-Minnesota)
• Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana)
• Lawrence Roberts, Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs

Tuesday, February 23
• Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma)
• Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana)
• Supreme Court Project Update
• Ann O'Leary, Senior Policy Advisor, Hillary for America Campaign
• 18th Annual Leadership Awards Banquet

Wednesday, February 24
• Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming)
• Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
• Nicole Willis, Advisor, Bernie Sanders for President

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