Suzan Harjo remembers the challenge of running the National Congress of American Indians. Her staff wore multiple hats, worked long hours, juggled multiple projects, and tried to answer the question, “what do the people want?”
So much easier asked than answered. The people, the tribes, the larger constituents, the funders, want everything. It’s a problem that is as true today as it was for Harjo and every other executive director of any national Indian organization.
Take the listening session in Washington, D.C., last month, hosted by NCAI. Some tribal leaders wanted government-to-government consultation. The White House wanted a 150-minute listening session and then get out.
Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear had hoped the meeting would produce a direct, in-person government-to-government consultation (without NCAI’s involvement.) He