NCAI Urges Confirmation of Patrice H. Kunesh as Commissioner for the Administration for Native Americans

Published on Mar 07, 2023

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) renews the call urging the swift confirmation of Patrice H. Kunesh to take place this week so that she can begin to serve as Commissioner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Native Americans (ANA). ANA works to promote self-sufficiency and economic opportunity for Native Americans by providing funding for community-based projects, training, and technical assistance to eligible Tribal Nations and Native organizations.

“Patrice understands that investing in tribal communities is essential to helping them achieve self-sufficiency and prosperity," said Fawn Sharp, President of the National Congress of American Indians. "Her commitment to Native language preservation, social and economic development, and understanding of how best to use federal funds will be valuable if confirmed to this important role."

As Commissioner, Kunesh will be responsible for promoting self-sufficiency through ANA's funding, training, and technical assistance programs. She will also work with other HHS programs and federal agencies such as the Administration for Children and Families to maximize resources on behalf of Native communities.

Kunesh, who is of Standing Rock Lakota descent, is a highly accomplished leader and advocate for Native communities. As the founder of Pe?í? Haha Consulting, she has worked to empower Native populations by augmenting their assets and promoting social and human capital development. Her extensive experience includes head positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of the Interior, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation; as well as teaching faculty roles at University South Dakota School Of Law and various posts at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF).

"Nominee Patrice Kunesh understands the unique needs of Tribal Nations and has been an advocate for their interests throughout her career," said Sharp. "We strongly urge her swift confirmation as ANA Commissioner to lead the important work of the agency to support all Native peoples.”


About the National Congress of American Indians:
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 United States. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies. NCAI promotes an understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people, and rights. For more information, visit

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