The National Congress of American Indians Fund is the 501(c)(3) education arm of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), a lobbying group that represents treaty-recognized tribal governments. The NCAI and the NCAI Fund are located in Washington, D.C.
The NCAI was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1944. The organization was formed with the intention of connecting individual American Indian and Native Alaskan tribes as an advocacy organization to resist federal legislation that would limit or terminate tribal governments.
The NCAI was the first intertribal organization and began with representatives from 50 individual tribes. It currently represents all 573 federally recognized tribes.
The NCAI initially established the NCAI Fund in 1949 for the purpose of accepting charitable contributions and providing educational opportunities for American Indians. This arm soon changed their name to ARROW, Inc. and split from the NCAI in 1957, becoming an independent organization. NCAI then formed a new NCAI Fund for charity and education, its tax-exempt status becoming official in 1960.
The NCAI Fund was successful in obtaining grants in its early years, primarily from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Ford Foundation, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Service, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and humanities councils. The original primary focus of the money obtained from grants was on conferences, workshops, and publications.
NCAI Fund Initiatives
In 2016, the NCAI Fund granted $854,171 to Native American Boys and Girls clubs for initiatives and salaries related to diabetes prevention of youth.
In the same year, the NCAI Fund granted First Kids 1st $533,478. First Kids 1st is the current initiative of The Native Policy Agenda, a group of organizations and individuals with the goal of altering policy of tribal, local, and federal government in focus of the betterment of Native children. The coalition’s agenda for 2019 seeks increased funding and appropriations for programs including construction of schools to serve Native children, countering the opioid epidemic, and expanding eligibility and tribal authority over nutrition programs in the Farm Bill.
The Native Policy Agenda was founded by a collaboration of the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the National Indian Education Association, and the National Indian Health Board.
The NCAI Fund also granted $189,208 to the NCAI Policy Research Center Project for building tribal data capacity in 2016. With additional grant funding from the National Science Center, the goal of the project is to acquire more complete census data for each federally recognized tribe within the United States for purposes of future education.
The NCAI Fund also reported spending $389,980 on conferences, conventions and meetings for 2016.
Financials & Donors
The NCAI reports that its foundation partners include these left-wing contributors: W.K.Kellogg Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Northwest Area Foundation.
The NCAI receives grants from the federal Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Justice. It also receive grants from the Small Business Administration and The Environmental Protection Agency.
Jefferson Keel currently serves as President of NCAI. Elected in 2017, he is currently serving his third nonconsecutive term. In February 2018, President Keel criticized President Donald Trump’s proposed budget plan for the fiscal year of 2019, citing a “Retreat from the federal commitments and treaty promises made to tribes.”
Jaqueline Johnson Pata is the current Executive Director of the NCAI, a position she has held since June 2001. She is the Principal officer of the NCAI Fund. In 2016, Pata claimed a salary of $308,361. In October 2018, Pata was placed on administrative leave after she was accused of mishandling a sexual harassment claim against NCAI General Counsel John Dossett.