Job Details

Director of the Institute for Environmental Sovereignty

Open Date:


Close Date:



National Congress of American Indians


Washington DC / Remote / Hybrid

Skills And Qualifications:

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  • Master’s degree in public policy, public administration, international relations, tribal governance or administration, American Indian/Native American studies, education, law, economics, or a related field.
  • Three or more years of experience working on Indian policy and/or with American Indian/Alaska Native tribal governments is strongly preferred.
  • Two or more years of experience in federal policy advocacy, working with Congress and the Administration is strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, including tribal leaders, intertribal organizations, legislative staff, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations.
  • The ability to articulate an agenda and plan to advance policy priorities.
  • Strong writing, interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills; and
  • Availability and willingness to travel, as necessary (up to 25% of work time).


  • Knowledge of environmental protection, natural resources, climate change, international issues, natural resources policy issues, including how those topics relate to tribal governments.
  • Superior oral and written communication skills, including the ability to write d in an effective, organized, professional, and timely manner.
  • Attention to detail, accuracy, and ability to meet deadlines.
  • Strong organizational skills to handle multiple overlapping projects.
  • Excellent problem solving and negotiation skills.
  • Ability to effectively collect, analyze, organize, distill, and present information.
  • Ability to represent NCAI in a professional manner.
  • Demonstrated experience working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, including tribal leaders, intertribal organizations, legislative staff, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations.
  • Ability to articulate an agenda and plan to advance policy priorities within issue areas, as assigned.
  • Ability to take direction, work independently, and take initiative within areas of responsibility while working in a team-oriented environment; and
  • Experience with, and enthusiasm for, a fast-paced, dynamic, and high-pressure work environment.

Duties And Responsibilities:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people, and rights.


NCAI is a national leader in policy and government relations concerning issues impacting Tribal Nations and peoples. The organization provides essential information and education on key policy initiatives, enhances coordination and consultation with tribal governments, and leads efforts to unite tribal advocates to promote progressive, proactive federal Indian policy. NCAI also manages several grants to enhance relationships between tribal governments and federal, state, and local governments to better meet the needs of tribal citizens and uphold the government-to-government principles that are essential to the autonomy of tribal governments.

The position will lead the NCAI Institute for Environmental Sovereignty, which was formed in 2020 to advocate, advance, and support Indian Country’s leading discussions on policy issues related to climate change, conservation, food security, natural resource management, and other environmental concerns. The Institute for Environmental Sovereignty is made up of two arms of advocacy: (1) Policy – to advance the policy priorities of Tribal Nations and their citizens; and (2) Tribal Governance and Research – to develop and share new knowledges, tools, and resources to best support tribal governance and assist in capacity building. The Institute Director of Environmental Sovereignty & Policy Lead - Environmental Protection & Natural Resources will oversee the functions of the Environmental Sovereignty Institute and will support the policy and advocacy functions of NCAI with respect to environmental protection, natural resources, and international issues.

Under the direction of the Executive Director and the Director of Policy and Legal, the primary duties and responsibilities of the Director of the Institute for Environmental Sovereignty & Policy Lead of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources position includes but are not limited to:

  • Manage NCAI's working relationships with tribal leaders, NCAI Staff, and organizational partners to develop and sustain a national Indian Country policy agenda on environmental protection and natural resource issues.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with Congressional and Administration contacts that are necessary to further the overall mission and responsibilities of NCAI and Indian Country's consensus-based policy priorities.
  • Lead and coordinate large-scale policy team projects and initiatives related to the assigned portfolio areas as needed.
  • Coordinate and lead the Institute for Environmental Sovereignty staff team.
  • Lead or participate in the design, management, and evaluation of the Institute's resource development projects.
  • Lead or assist in developing talking points, support letters, and written testimony.
  • Monitor and analyze legislation, regulations, and other materials related to policy affecting Indian Country.
  • Coordinate and execute several public facing events—both virtual and in-person meetings— including large-scale policy meetings, town hall events, federal/non-federal working groups, webinars, and NCAI conference sessions.
  • Support and assist in the drafting process of NCAI's policy resources.
  • Plan activities, create responsibilities, and oversee NCAI policy staff.
  • Participate and assist in coordinating funding proposals, grant reports, and other grant activities for the benefit of the Institute of Environmental Sovereignty; and
  • Other duties as assigned.

Salary And Benefits:

Annual Salary: Negotiable based on experience and skill set related to the qualifications stated.

Contact Info:

Please send your cover letter and resume to Ron Teliszczak, HR Director, at

Contact Email:

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