Stars align to watch over Dorgan’s Native American youth center

Byron Dorgan

FARGO – What do journalist Tom Brokaw, NBA head coach Phil Jackson and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski all have in common with North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan?

They’re among more than a dozen well-known politicians, policy experts, businessmen, journalists and sports figures who will oversee Dorgan’s new Center for Native American Youth in Washington, D.C.

Dorgan founded the center earlier this year, shortly after concluding his decades-long tenure in Congress. The organization is housed in the Aspen Institute, a policy think-tank.

Today, Dorgan announced the center’s Board of Advisers – an impressive array of public figures, who are interested in and/or involved with Indian affairs issues.

(Dorgan – who served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs from 2007-2011 – will serve as the center’s board chairman.)

Here’s the full list of board members:

  • Allison Binney, former staff director and chief counsel for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and current partner at a D.C. law firm, where she works with American Indian law and policy.
  • Lucy Calautti, Dorgan’s former chief of staff and a senior adviser for a D.C. law firm’s legislative practice, where she represents Major League Baseball. (Calautti is also the wife of current North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad.)
  • Sam McCracken, general manager of Native American Business for Nike and the chairman for Nike N7.

Dorgan created the Center for Native American Youth to address the challenges facing Native American children. Earlier this year, Dorgan donated $1 million of excess campaign funds to help get the organization off the ground.

The center aims to address issues like teen suicide prevention, substance abuse, education and more, while working with Native American youth, parents and tribal organizations.