National Caucus of Native American State Legislators

Table of Contents

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 81 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.

2018-2020 Executive Committee

  • Chair: Senator Benny Shendo, New Mexico
  • Vice-chair: Representative Ponka-We Victors, Kansas
  • Secretary: Representative Georgene Louis, New Mexico
  • Treasurer: Representative Jonathan Windy-Boy, Montana
  • Peace Keeper: Representative Tawna Sanchez, Oregon

Policy Committees 

Please Note: New Appointments will be made for 2018-2020***

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.