WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the first time in 20 years, the National League of Cities has created a new caucus to serve municipal leaders of indigenous heritage. The new constituency group, Local Indigenous Leaders, was announced at the at the 2023 Congressional City Conference.
Local Indigenous Leaders (LIL) is a caucus that provides municipal officials who identify and ally with Indigenous Peoples a space and network to connect with their colleagues, share ideas, and develop leadership experience. LIL also works within NLC to uplift the perspectives of Indigenous communities and educate the greater organization on historical and current issues facing Indigenous and Tribal communities.
The Local Indigenous Leaders constituency group will initially be led by a Leadership Circle of five local elected officials:
- April Fournier (Navajo), Councilor, Portland, ME
- Chris Roberts (Choctaw), Councilmember, Shoreline, WA (NLC Board member)
- Doreen Garlid (Navajo), Councilmember, Tempe, AZ
- Lisa Ford (Choctaw), Councilor, Broken Arrow, OK
- Sigvanna (Meghan) Tapqaq (Iñupiaq), Councilmember, Nome, AK
In a Diversity Breakfast held on Sunday, NLC President Mayor Victoria Woodards facilitated a conversation between Councilor April Fournier of Portland, Maine and Councilmember Doreen Garlid of Tempe, Arizona.
“I am excited to formally recognize and welcome the Local Indigenous Leaders as an official group of the National League of Cities,” said NLC President and Mayor of Tacoma, WA, Victoria Woodards. “This group was created to provide a space for leaders to meet with Indigenous peers and serve as a resource to the entire organization on Indigenous and Tribal issues. So much has been taken from our Indigenous leaders, and this is a time to recognize not only what they’ve gone through, but more importantly, what they bring to the table. I couldn’t be prouder to have this group established during my year as president of the National League of Cities.”
The Local Indigenous Leaders also held its first formal membership meeting during CCC, which included the formal establishment of the group, agreements around structure and governance, priorities for the first year, and the future vision and work plan for the group. Goals for the first year include:
- Conducting outreach to identify and recruit local elected Indigenous municipal officials
- Ensuring that members are connected to NLC leadership opportunities to increase their voice within NLC
- Engaging in discussions on national municipal policy related to tribal sovereignty
- Broadly disseminating NLC’s 2022 Municipal Action Guide: Roadmap To Repair: A Guide to How Cities Can Acknowledge and Address the History of Harm to Indigenous Peoples, Rebuild Trust, and Repair Relationships
If you are interested in speaking with a member of the Local Indigenous Leaders constituency group, or an NLC expert, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on NLC’s Constituency Groups, visit http://nlc.org/cg.
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