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Cherokee Nation Tribal Council speaker continues leading role in NCAI

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd was recently re-elected to serve his second term as vice president of the eastern Oklahoma region of the National Congress of American Indians during the annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The National Congress of American Indians is a collection of native leaders from all across Indian Country who are elected to work together on native issues regarding tribal sovereignty. The group of 28 elected officials representing more than 10 tribes meets annually to discuss policies, goals and tribal needs.

“We all know the National Congress of American Indians brings together native leaders so we can better speak with a unified voice on issues critical to American Indian and Alaska Native nations,” said Byrd during a speech prior to the election. “As NCAI vice president, I will continue to advocate for tribes and ensure our region is regularly updated on active legislation. I look forward, very much, to working with other tribal leaders on solutions that will ensure a strong future for all of our people.”

Byrd has a long history of working on behalf of the Cherokee Nation and is currently serving his last term as Tribal Council speaker.

“As a tribe, we are always thankful for the role that Speaker Byrd takes on to continually advocate and represent the Cherokee Nation,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “To have a representative from the Cherokee Nation seated at this level helps the voice of our people echo on Capitol Hill, and I commend my friend and colleague for earning his seat at the table.”

During the 66th annual NCAI conference held earlier this month, Chickasaw Nation Lt. Governor Jefferson Keel was elected as NCAI president. Keel served as first vice president of the group for 12 years prior to this election.

For more information about NCAI, visit


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