President Fawn Sharp of the Quinault Indian Nation is running to be president of the National Congress of American Indians.
At its annual gathering next week in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the NCAI will elect a new governing board. Sharp is a past first vice president and Northwest region vice president for the NCAI.
During a brief conversation Friday, Sharp said she would like to “connect each region with a collective agenda” and “unite the voices” of the tribes.
In many way, she’s following in the footsteps of Joseph DeLaCruz, a Quinault member who was NCAI president from 1981 to 1984, Sharp said.
“I am honored to carry on that tradition of leadership,” she said.
Other issues Sharp hopes to take on while president of the NCAI include political equality with the government of the United States.
“We are 13-0 in lawsuits with the state of Washington,” Sharp said. “I hope we can come to a point where we can work together rather than against each other.”
She said the economic, political and social marginalization of American Indians, such as the unilateral action taken by the U.S. government at Standing Rock against united Indian opposition, must be changed. And she would like to continue the work she and others have done to achieve equality for indigenous people at the United Nations.
“The president is the voice of the (NCAI),” she said. “They directly engage with the executive and legislative branches of the United States government and there is a lot I hope to accomplish.”
The election will be Thursday, Oct. 17.