President of the National Congress of American Indians Fawn Sharp will deliver the State of Indian Nations address on February 21. Sharp’s speech at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will be streamed live on YouTube at 7:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.
The National Congress of American Indians describes itself as "the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities." The annual State of Indian Nations address "shares the positive and future-oriented vision of Tribal Nations," according to the organization's website.
Before being elected president of the organization in 2019, Sharp, an attorney, served five terms as the president of the Quinault Indian Nation, located on the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington. She is currently the nation's vice president. She has also been a trustee of Grays Harbor College and a member of the Washington State Bar Association's board of governors.
On June 27, 2021, The New York Times reported that Sharp’s tribe and others had been increasingly hit by violent storms brought on by climate change. The paper also noted that the federal government had been neglecting Indian nations "where substandard housing and infrastructure make it harder to cope with climate shocks." The paper quoted Sharp saying "We’re running out of time."
On August 18, 2022, the White House released a statement on what the Inflation Reduction Act would mean for Native Americans. It said, "The Inflation Reduction Act takes the most aggressive action on climate and clean energy in American history. And it does so by providing funding specifically for Tribes to plan for and adapt to climate change, mitigate drought, support fisheries, and shift to clean energy production and use."
Sharp received her bachelor of arts degree from Gonzaga University and a law degree from the University of Washington. She went on to study international human rights law at Oxford University.
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