Skip navigation
Timeline / Citizenship, Services, and Sovereignty / 1944: National Congress of American Indians established

1944: National Congress of American Indians established

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is founded. A generation educated in off-reservation boarding schools, who came of age with the Indian New Deal and the Second World War, believes that tribes working together can map a political agenda to bring to the U.S. Congress. NCAI quickly catalyzes the American Indian public and attracts as many women as men to its second conference, drawing equally from tribes in all parts of the U.S., and inspiring Native peoples of all ages and educational backgrounds.

In the 21st century, the NCAI remains “the oldest, largest, and most representative national American Indian and Alaska Native organization.” —

Native Rights
Arctic, California, Great Basin, Great Plains, Northeast, Northwest Coast, Plateau, Southeast, Southwest, Subarctic

First meeting of the National Congress of American Indians, Denver, 1944

Courtesy National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution