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.
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:
- David Anderson, founder of Famous Dave’s restaurant and former assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the Interior Department.
- 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.)
- Pam Gulleson, former Rutland (N.D.) legislator, current adviser to the president of the North Dakota Farmers Union and Dorgan’s most recent chief of staff. (Gulleson is also at the top of a very short list of prospective Democratic candidates in North Dakota’s 2012 U.S. Senate race.)
- Phil Jackson, 11-time championship-winning National Basketball Association head coach for such teams as the Chicago Bulls and the L.A. Lakers.
- Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians and the lieutenant governor for the Chickasaw Nation.
- Lisa Murkowski, U.S. senator (R-Alaska).
- Gordon Smith, former U.S. senator (R-Ore.) and current president of the 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
- Three youth members: Megan Gregory of the Organized Village of Kake in Alaska, Dana Lee Jetty of the Spirit Lake Tribe here in North Dakota, and Coloradas Mangas of the Mescalero Apache Tribe in New Mexico.
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.