The Coalition

The First Kids 1st effort is led by four founding members: the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB)


ncai-website-logoFounded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.

NCAI, a non-profit organization, advocates for a bright future for generations to come by taking the lead to gain consensus on a constructive and promising vision for Indian Country. The organization’s policy issues and initiatives are driven by the consensus of our diverse membership, which consists of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, tribal citizens, individuals, and Native and non-Native organizations.


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The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) is a national voice for American Indian children and families. We are the most comprehensive source of information on American Indian child welfare and the only national American Indian organization focused specifically on the tribal capacity to prevent child abuse and neglect.

NICWA is a private, nonprofit, membership organization based in Portland, Oregon. Our members include tribes, individuals—both Indian and non-Indian—and private organizations from around the United States concerned with American Indian child and family issues. Together, our partners, board, and staff work to protect the most vital resource of American Indian people—our children.


The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) was formed in 1970, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Native educators who were anxious to find solutions to improve the education system for Native children. The NIEA Convention was established to mark the beginning of a national forum for sharing and developing ideas, and influencing federal policy.

NIEA adheres to the organization’s founding principles: 1) to bring Native educators together to explore ways to improve schools and the schooling of Native children; 2) to promote the maintenance and continued development of Native languages and cultures; and 3) to develop and implement strategies for influencing local, state, and federal policy and policymakers.


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The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) represents Tribal governments—both those that operate their own health care delivery systems through contracting and compacting, and those receiving health care directly from the Indian Health Service (IHS).

Located in Washington DC on Capitol Hill, the NIHB, a non-profit organization, provides a variety of services to tribes, Area Health Boards, Tribal organizations, federal agencies, and private foundations, including: Advocacy, Policy Formation and Analysis, Legislative and Regulatory Tracking, Direct and Timely Communication with Tribes, Research on Indian Health Issues, Program Development and Assessment, Training and Technical Assistance Programs, and Project Management.