Native American Issues

Meet Our Board of Advisors

May 25, 2011

Former US Senator Byron Dorgan announced today the membership of the Center’s Board of Advisors, an impressive group of prominent political figures, journalists, entrepreneneurs, athletes, and Native American leaders and advocates. Among those in the new group are former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury; Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson; President of the National Congress of American Indians, Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel; US Senator Lisa Murkowski; and former US Senator Gordon Smith.  The board also includes three Native youth, who are members of tribes in Alaska, New Mexico and North Dakota.

The full press release is below.  A PDF version is available here.


Dorgan Announces Board of Advisors for
Center for Native American Youth


Board includes National Congress of American Indians President Jefferson Keel, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Tom Brokaw, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Phil Jackson


Washington, DC, May 25, 2011 –– Former US Senator Byron Dorgan announced today the membership of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Native American Youth. The Board features prominent Native American leaders, entrepreneurs, journalists and advocates as well as other Americans who have worked on Native American issues over the years. Senator Dorgan, who was Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs from 2007 – 2011, will be Chairman of the Board of Advisors.

The Center for Native American Youth is a new organization Senator Dorgan created at the Aspen Institute to address the challenges facing Native American children. Dorgan donated $1 million of excess campaign funds to create the organization in January of this year at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC.

“I created the Center for Native American Youth because I believe our country has a responsibility to keep the promises we made to the First Americans,” Dorgan said.  “Our focus will be with Native American children, many of whom are facing daunting challenges.”

The members include Lt. Governor Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians; Jacoby Ellsbury, center fielder for the Boston Red Sox; Dave Anderson, founder of Famous Dave’s restaurant chain; and Hattie Kauffman, national correspondent for CBS’ The Early Show; Tom Brokaw, former NBC Nightly News anchor; Phil Jackson, NBA head coach; Lisa Murkowski, US Senator; Gordon Smith, former US Senator; as well as three Native American youth members from tribal communities in North Dakota, Alaska and New Mexico.

(A full list of the Board of Advisory members is below.)

“Native American youth are the most at-risk population in the United States,” Dorgan added.  “Rates of teen suicide on Indian reservations is nearly quadruple the national average.  Some tribal communities experience serious issues with substance abuse, gangs targeting Native children, and schools that are not up to standard.  We need to find ways to let these children know they are not alone.  They too can have hope for a better future.”

The Center for Native American Youth will work on issues of teen suicide prevention, substance abuse, education and more. The Center will work with Native American youth and parents, and also aspires to develop meaningful partnerships with tribal governments and other organizations on issues affecting Native children. For more information about the Center for Native American Youth visit

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.


Members of the Board



US Senator Byron L. Dorgan (ret.)

Board Members

David Anderson, founder, Famous Dave’s Restaurant; former assistant secretary – Indian Affairs, US Department of the Interior

Allison Binney, partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; former staff director and chief counsel, US Senate Indian Affairs Committee

Tom Brokaw, special correspondent and former anchor, NBC Nightly News

Lucy Calautti, senior advisor, Baker Hostetler LLP

Jacoby Ellsbury, centerfielder/leftfielder, Boston Red Sox

Pam Gulleson, advisor to the president of the North Dakota Farmers Union; former chief of staff to Senator Byron Dorgan

Phil Jackson, 11-time championship-winning National Basketball Association head coach

Hattie Kauffman, national news correspondent, CBS’ The Early Show

Jefferson Keel, president, National Congress of American Indians; lt. governor, Chickasaw Nation

Sam McCracken, general manager, Native American Business, Nike, Inc.; chairman, Nike N7

US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R – Alaska)

US Senator Gordon Smith (ret.), president, National Association of Broadcasters

Patty Talahongva, former president of the Native American Journalists Association

W. Richard West, founding director, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian

Youth Board Members

Megan Gregory, Organized Village of Kake (Alaska)

Dana Lee Jetty, Spirit Lake Tribe (North Dakota)

Coloradas Mangas, Mescalero Apache Tribe (New Mexico)