Tribal Leader / Scholar Forum


Note: The Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum will no longer be held at the NCAI Mid Year Conference. As the NCAI Policy Research Center joins the new NCAI Sovereignty Institute, future research focused events and trainings will be announced as we work to renew our strategic vision to enhance and support tribal governance in Indian Country.

The 2022 NCAI Mid Year Conference will have research and data-related content, and the agenda will be posted on the NCAI Mid Year Conference page soon. Thank you to all the presenters and attendees at past Tribal Leader/Scholar Forums. Watch our website and social media for new research resources and events that are a part of the new NCAI Sovereignty Institute. 


Learn more about the new NCAI Sovereignty Institute here.

Register for the 2022 Mid Year Conference in Anchorage, AK here.

View past agendas and presentations for past Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum events below.

While we will no longer have a call for research-focused proposals, if you have information to disseminate, you can register to have a booth in NCAI's Marketplace.  

The NCAI Policy Research Center is always interested in new research findings and related resources that can help support tribal governance and tribal sovereignty. You can share those at



2021 Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum

16th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum

The NCAI Policy Research Center’s Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum provides an opportunity for researchers, practitioners, community members, and others to present their findings to tribal leaders, policymakers, and tribal members.

The 16th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum is scheduled to be held during the NCAI Mid Year Conference on June 20-24, 2021 as a virtual event.

The Theme is Governance, Trust, and Culture in Research.


The FINAL AGENDA is now available here.


Presentation PDFs are available here:

1st General Assembly:

- COVID-19 Update

2nd General Assembly - Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum:

- NCAI Policy Research Center Update

- Chief Malerba

- Dr. Gonzales/Dr. Martin

- Dr. Record/Mr. Klar

- Dr. DIllard


REGISTER now for the 2021 NCAI Mid Year Conference and the 16th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum here.


Registration for the Holding Space Training is CLOSED. If you want to sign up on the wait list, go to the registration link, but the wait list is very long at this point.


If you are an AI/AN college or graduate student interested in research careers, apply for support to attend the Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum here. The deadline is Wednesday, June 16, 2021


The call for proposals for the 2021 Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum is now closed. Presenters have been notified. 

View the 2021 Call for Presentation Proposals.   

Questions? Email us at




2020 Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum


The 15th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum was held on September 1-3, 2020 as a virtual event.

The theme was Research Governance: Protecting Sovereignty.

PowerPoint Presentations and videos of the event will be available soon.

Click here for the Final Agenda 

The Call for Presentation Proposals is now closed. Thank you to all who submitted proposals!

View the 2020 Call for Presentation Proposals and the Proposal Cover Sheet.

Questions? Email us at


2019 Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum

 The 14th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum took place on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at the NCAI Mid Year Conference in Reno/Sparks, NV. The agendas and PowerPoint presentations are included below - click on the red links to view.



Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum Agenda

Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum Poster Session Agenda

- Post Conference Data Institute - Holding Space Training Agenda

- Final Mid Year Conference Agenda



TLSF General Assembly

NCAI Policy Research Center Director Update

Census 2020: Get Out the Count for Indian Country

-- Presentation 1 - Dee Alexander

-- Presentation 2 - Amadeo Shije

-- Presentation 3 - Asa K. Washines

-- Presentation 4 - Jamie Gomez

Diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives - Are We Making Progress?

Genetic Research: Tribes Taking Action

TLSF Breakout Sessions

1A - Genetic Research - Tribes Taking Action

-- Driving Change: Priming the Navajo Nation Genetic Research Policy Development

1B - Crime & Justice Data for Policy

-- Using Data and Research to Address Missing and Unidentified Persons Cases in Indian Country and Alaska Native Villages

---- Handout

-- The Survey of Jails in Indian Country (SJIC): Twenty Years of Data

1C - Data for Community Change

-- Storytelling Utilizing Data and GIS Technology: Creating Visual Frameworks to Aid Decision Making in Child Welfare and ICWA

-- Piikani (Blackfeet) Pathways to Data, Research, and Food Sovereignty

---- Handout

2A - Tribal Research Oversight - Tribes Taking Action

-- Tools for Tribal Leaders: Building Research Infrastructure Efficiently

-- Deliberation and Community Engagement on Genetics in Three Communities

2B - Data for Climate Action

-- Christopher Caldwell, Sustainable Development Institute, College of Menominee Nation

-- Joe Hostler, Air Quality Specialist, Yurok Tribe

2C - First Kids1st: Helping Native Youth Thrive

-- Community Asset Mapping for Native Youth

-- Measuring Progress for our Youth - Data for Action

TLSF Poster Session

- Indigenizing Cancer Bio-Banks as a Form of Cultural Resistance and Resiliency

----- Article handout

- Low Income Housing Tax Credits in Indian Country

- Guide to Indigenous Washington, DC

- Indigenous Mentorship: A Behavioral Evaluation Model of College Mentors in Health Science

- Community Engagement, Data Governance Deliberation Event

NIH Tribal Consultation Sessions

The NCAI Mid Year Conference also featured the following two NIH Tribal Consultation Sessions:

-- Intellectual Property Rights in Research

------ View the Dear Tribal Leader Letter, Framing Letter, Agenda, PowerPoint slides, and background webinar from March 2019

-- All of Us Research Program

------ View the Dear Tribal Leader Letter, Framing Letter, Tribal Collaboration Working Group Report, and PowerPoint slides and background webinar from June 3, 2019

The NCAI Policy Research Center encourages tribal nations to submit comments to NIH on these two important tribal consultations.


The 2019 Call for Presentation Proposals is now closed. 

Questions? Email us at


2018 Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum

Our theme for the 2018 Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum was Lighting the Way: New Paths from Research to Policy. This theme reflects the desire to shed light on future directions for policy in a way that is deeply informed by research and data in the context of tribal cultures and values.

The Forum took place on June 5, 2018 in Kansas City, MO. 



- Pre Conference Data Institute

- Tribal Leader Scholar Forum

- Poster Session

- NCAI Mid Year Conference Final Agenda



Pre Conference Data Institute

Building Tribal Data Capacity and Oversight - Tools and Resources

The Governance of Indigenous Data - Generating a Framework and Principles

Tribal Research Futures: Resources to Strengthen Governance, Trust & Culture in Tribal Academic Research Partnerships


13th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum - General Assembly

NCAI Policy Research Center Update

How Data can make the Native Vote a "Swing Vote"

- Watch this presentation's video recording

Census 2020: Time to Make it Count for Indian Country

Reclaiming our Native Truth through Data


13th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum - Breakout Sessions

1A. Genetic Research: Tribal Strategies to Protect and Benefit

- Tribal Data Sharing and Genetics Policy Development Workshop - Update

1B. Crime & Justice Data for Policy

- Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) 2013 SDVJ Five Year Report Update

- Effective Use of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS) for Murdered, Missing, and Trafficked Case Resolution for American Indian and Alaska Native People

- The Technology Divide in Indian Country

1C. Community Needs Assessment - Data for Action

- First Kids 1st: Community Asset Mapping

- The National Resource Center on Native American Aging: Identifying our Needs - A Survey of Elders

2A. Tribal Research Oversight - Tribes Taking Action

- Paving a Path: Building Tribal Research Infrastructure through Community Engagement

- A Winding Path: Working to Protect, Use, and Manage Data at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan

2B. Data to Strengthen Tribal Economies

- Community Wealth Building in Indian Country: An innovative economic approach to preserve cultural assets, strengthen local economies, and maintain resilience

- Making HUD 184 Mortgages Work on Trust Lands: Case Studies of Building Assets for Homeownership

- Investing in the Indigeneous Arts Ecology


CLICK HERE for the Call for Proposals and Sample Submission Template.
The 2018 Call for Proposals is now CLOSED; Presenter notifications completed.


2017 Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum

Click here to read the Tribal Leader Scholar Forum Fact Sheet

Click on the session titles below to download agendas and PDFs of the presentations!


For more information about the Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum and how to engage in future gatherings, please contact the Policy Research Center team at Conference proceedings from prior years are archived below.
Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum Archives
The Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum is featured annually at the NCAI Mid Year Conference. Past Forum Themes include: