Advocate for Indian Country

There are numerous ways to join us in advocating for Indian Country. Some of the best ways you can get involved immediately are by contacting NCAI about issues of concern, communicating with US Congress and local officials about key legislation affecting Indian Country. To inform us about a new or ongoing issue of concern, please visit the NCAI staff directory and select the appropriate staff member or use the online “Contact Us” form.

Tribal leaders can stay up to date on consultation sessions through the respective agency websites or NCAI’s consultation listing. Please see below for tips for contacting Congress.

Tips for Contacting Congress

Visit to find out who represents you in the House of Representatives (You can visit the complete house directory here: Visit to get your Senators’ information. Visit to view the congressional schedule.

Different offices prefer different methods of communication.  Some offices prefer email while others prefer regular mail.  If you send regular mail, handwritten can be more effective than typed correspondence, if it is neat.

Overall Tips:

  • With all correspondence, be courteous, brief, and to the point.

  • Be informed. Visit to find out the details about legislation and the last action taken on the piece of legislation you are contacting your representative about.

  • Whatever your mode of communication, ask for a response. Hold them accountable if they do not respond to your request.

  • Say thank you. Express appreciation if they support an important piece of legislation or respond to your request.

  • Know your local officials: Legislators respond to the needs and desires of local officials. Ask local officials for their help in your advocacy efforts with your legislators.

  •  Tell your story: Your own story is your most persuasive message.


By Mail:

Tips for writing Congress:

  • Write to your own senators or representative.

  •  Make sure your mailing address (especially zip code) appears on the letter. Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents
  • Write at the proper time, when a bill is about to be discussed in committee or on the floor.
  • Be brief. Shorter, succinct letters focusing on one point have more impact than longer rambling letters.
  • Use your own words.
  • Whenever applicable, identify all bills by their number.
  • Be courteous and constructive.
  •  Follow up with a phone call or visit.
  • Mail sent to a member’s office in Washington, DC must be processed which will add an extra 1-2 weeks to the regular mailing time.

How to address a letter:

Letters to Senators

Your name, Address and Zip code

Honorable [full name]
United States Senate
Washington, DC  20510

Dear Senator [last name]:

[body of letter]

Sincerely yours,

Letters to Representatives

Your name, Address and Zip code

Honorable [full name]
House of Representatives
Washington, DC  20515

Dear (Mr. or Ms.) [last name]:

[body of letter]

Sincerely yours,


By Phone:

You may choose to call a Senator or Representative to discuss an issue. You may either look up their direct number or call 202-224-3121 to connect to an operator at the Capitol switchboard. They will direct you to both Senators and Representatives.

It is important to let them know why you are calling and the specific issue you are calling about. You will sometimes be able to speak directly to your Senator or Representative, but more often you will speak to a staff person in the member's office. This person keeps track of how many people called and their positions on issues, and provides a summary to the member. Ask the people that you speak to for their name and title, write it down, and let the staffer know that you will be following up. Express how you feel, but avoid being confrontational or argumentative. Be assured that your call does count, even if you are not able to speak directly to your senator or representative. Lastly, be sure to follow up on your phone call.

Things to Expect When You Call

You will most likely speak to a staffer, not the Member of Congress. They will generally ask for your name and contact information, primarily your zip code. This is how the office identifies that you live in their district. Due to the volume of incoming calls, congressional offices frequently track only calls for or calls against many issues. Frequently, you will not be asked for any details other than whether you support or oppose the issue or legislation.


By Email:

The best way to send email is through the contact form on your member’s web site. Follow the same guidelines as if you were writing a mailed letter.

Here are some email specific tips:

  • Send timely messages
  • Choose your subject line carefully
  • Include only relevant information and offer links back to your website or pertinent online files.