Published October 21, 2017
EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA – Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier came in third of a three-person race for the presidency of the National Congress of American Indians. Frazier announced candidacy to to lead the nation’s largest and oldest organization on September 22, 2017.
After the first round of voting at the NCAI’s 74th Annual Convention and Marketplace in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Fraizer was knocked out the race because of he came in third. The first round votes were: Quaninalt Tribe President Fawn Sharp received 7,497 (36.49%); Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier received 4,358 (21.21%); and Chickasaw Nation Lieutenant Governor Jefferson Keel received 8,689 (42.29%).
A run-off round was held between Keel and Sharp. In the end, Keel won and became the 22nd president of NCAI.
On Friday, Chairman Fraizer released the following statement:
Yesterday the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) held elections for executive officers to serve the next two years. NCAI is an organization that was started many years ago during the termination era to protect us and other Tribes from negative federal policies. The first year in 1944 Lakotas, Dakotas and Nakotas from the Oceti Phetage were in the majority. This meant that the Great Sioux Nation was well represented and our interests were presented to those that guided the federal government.
Today that is not the case. Ironically, our voice in Federal policies through NCAI has been terminated. The result of this is poor federal policies regarding my people. This has resulted in an unimproved situation regarding federal trust responsibilities causing situations such as oil pipelines across our treaty territories, loss of resources, poor policy implementation in government programs and budget formulas that prevent us from effectively providing for my Tribe. We will continue to fight for a better future for our children and grandchildren.
I was approached by leaders from other tribes on the Great Plains to run for executive office on NCAI and returned home to reflect on the that request. I conferred with elders, youth and spiritual leaders and was encouraged by the responses I had to pursue the request of my fellow tribal executives. After making the decision, there was an immediate flood of volunteers to assist the election process.
I would like to thank all of those who chose to support me in the opportunity to play a larger role in NCAI. I am grateful to the Tribal council, employees, the Great Plains tribal leaders and most importantly, the people of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. The show of support and number of volunteers was incredible and is a testament to what we can do when we all work together. We definitely showed up proud and left proud.
Unfortunately, the ballots favored tribes that had large revenues with smaller amounts of land. That is what indian country looks like today. I will continue to fight for the Federal government to recognize their trust responsibilities and influence NCAI to represent the tribes that constitute the majority of the native population.
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