National Caucus of Native American State Legislators

The National Caucus of Native American State Legislators (NCNASL) works to promote a better understanding of state-tribal issues among policymakers and the public at large. Caucus members meet annually. 

Members hope to encourage a broad awareness of state-tribal issues across the country and raise the profile of tribal issues throughout the state legislative arena.

The effectiveness of the Caucus, and the strength of individual Native American  legislators, increases the ability of the state legislatures to more appropriately address tribal issues and develop public policy in cooperation with tribal governments.

With 89 members from 21 states, the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators:

  • Provides a forum for discussion among Native American legislators.
  • Works to increase awareness of diverse Native American cultures.
  • Supports state-tribal communications to encourage open dialogue, understanding and cooperation.
  • To provide research, training, and educational services to American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian state legislators.

2021-2023 Executive Committee

Chair: Senator Benny Shendo, New Mexico

Vice-chair: Representative Ruth Buffalo, North Dakota

Secretary: Representative Ajay Pittman, Oklahoma

Treasurer: Representative Jonathan Windy-Boy, Montana

Peace Keeper: Representative Ken Luttrell, Oklahoma

2018-2021* Policy Committees

*Please Note: New Appointments will be made for 2021-2023 term*** Two year 2018-2020 term was extended in 2020 for one year due to an emergency resolution passed by the Caucus in 2020. 

Economic Development and Telecommunications

Chair: Rep. Shawn Bordeaux, SD
Vice-Chair: Rep. Ken Lutrell, OK

This committee addresses all topics associated with economic development including financial partnerships, the Board of Business Advisors and corporate investments in Native communities.


Chair: Sen. Mary Kunesh-Podein, MN
Vice Chair: Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales, AZ

The Education committee covers issues such as early childhood education, the achievement gap, cultural competency and secondary education.

Energy, Natural Resources and Transportation

Chair: Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, AZ
Vice-Chair: Rep. Lynn DeCoite, HI

Members concentrate on the subjects of renewable and nuclear energy, water and climate change. They also attend to transportation and environmental issues.

Health and Human Services

Chair: Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, AK
Vice-Chair: Rep. Ajay Pittman, OK

In addition to general health, which includes wellness, traditional medical practices and mental health, members are responsible for human services and criminal justice issues.


NCNASL operates under its independent guiding bylaws. Please note these are separate from the bylaws of the National Conference of State Legislatures.